The UAE will continue to promote its maritime transport sector as it recognizes the essential role of the maritime sector in keeping trade flowing smoothly, its senior official said.
Hessa Al Malek, Advisor to the Minister of Maritime Transport, Ministry of Energy and Infrastructure of the United Arab Emirates, underlined that seafarers are undoubtedly the backbone of the maritime and maritime sector.
“Our goal is to increase the volume of containers handled by the country to 50 million by 2032, with a growth rate of around 150%. This is in addition to our ambition to increase the number of UAE-flagged vessels and tankers to 2,000 vessels,” Al Malek said at the 4th Annual Maritime Security Conference in Dubai.
The conference was held under the patronage of the UAE Ministry of Energy and Infrastructure and Tristar Group Marine Logistics Division and brought together industry players, experts and sector executives shipping and shipping.
The event highlighted issues related to the physical and mental well-being of seafarers and addressed pressing issues such as decarbonisation, energy efficiency, digitalisation and the role of AI in the development of the sector.
Al Malek said the UAE has led the way by taking action and launching groundbreaking initiatives.
“At the height of the pandemic, we were the first country in the world to facilitate the safe exchange of more than 240,000 seafarers and their safe return to their home countries,” she said. .
Referring to recent initiatives such as ‘Salmeen’, ‘Sailing Safely’ and ‘Supporting our Blue Army’, the adviser said that these initiatives improve the quality of life of seafarers and strengthen maritime safety to protect the people’s lives.
“It is necessary that we continue our efforts to ensure a better life for our ‘blue army’, which has played and will continue to play a major role in the success of the industry,” Al Malek said.
Boasting a coastline of over 1,650 km, the UAE’s strategic location at the crossroads of global shipping routes makes the country a key trade and logistics hub. This is evidenced by the fact that the country’s ports receive more than 21,000 ships a year and its ports handle more than 17 million containers each year.
The International Maritime Organization (IMO), which also participated in the event, expressed its belief that Tristar’s continued initiative will greatly contribute to safety at sea. It commended the efforts of the United Arab Emirates, which have was one of the first countries to classify seafarers as “worker priority” and facilitated the safe exchange of more than 240,000 seafarers, who were helped to return to their countries of origin safely safety, as well as medical treatment and Covid-19 vaccines.
In his opening address, IMO Secretary General Kitack Lim said that IMO would continue to work tirelessly to address maritime security challenges through a multi-pronged approach, including policy development, direct response from our Seafarer Crisis Action Team (SCAT), and inter-agency and industry partnerships.
“We will continue to work with governments, industry players and other international organizations to improve maritime safety and security,” Lim said.
Eugene Mayne, Founder and CEO of Tristar Group, addresses the conference and sailors and says the past three years have changed things.
“The world has taken note of the many challenges you face, whether pandemic-related or not. When the United Nations designated you as a ‘key worker’, it opened many doors: recognition, safe repatriations, faster crew changes and travel assistance,” he said.
“The support and solidarity of the International Maritime Organization, the International Labor Organization and many other authorities, in addition to their new protocols, will open more doors for you,” he said.
Maritime transport today carries more than 80% of world trade, providing a reliable and inexpensive way to move goods around the world, facilitating trade and contributing to the prosperity of nations and peoples. According to the IMO, the Covid-19 pandemic and other challenges facing the global shipping industry have resulted in huge hardships for seafarers.
“Now is the perfect time for a reset at sea, with the cooperation and participation of states, shipowners, governments and authorities. Today we look beyond borders and borders, and our competitors , as we work to achieve a greater common good for all of our seafarers,” said Mayne.
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