Dubai has established itself again as one of the leading maritime centres in the world, edging out competition from cities such as Hamburg and New York for fifth place for the fourth successive year.

According to the Xinhua-Baltic International Shipping Centre Development Index (ISCDI) report, Dubai is the only city in the Middle East to appear on the annual list, earning a spot in the top five based on ease of doing business, access to professional maritime services and location.

Singapore topped the list for the 10th year out of 43 maritime locations, while London and Shanghai have retained their positions of second and third place within the index for the past four years.


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Other cities earning spots as key maritime business hubs included Hong Kong in fourth place, with Rotterdam coming in sixth, followed by Hamburg.

The index also considered port factors, number of players in maritime support businesses such as shipbroking, ship management and ship financing, along with general business environment factors such as customs tariffs, extent of electronic government services and logistics performance.

Over the years, Dubai’s investments in its ports, coupled with its strategic geographic location and connectivity has made it a leading maritime hub. In March, Dubai-based global port operator DP World reported a 37% rise in 2022 net profit, attributable to $1.23 billion on strong revenue growth. 


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DP World’s Jebel Ali Free Zone (Jafza) witnessed the highest customer registrations in a decade, marking a 30% year-on-year growth, and taking the total number of companies to over 9,500 in 2022.

According to data shared, China and India remain key trade and economic partners for the Free Zone through partnerships such as the Belt and Road Initiative with the former and the CEPA (Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement) deal with the latter.

Last month, the Dubai Maritime Authority (DMA) at the Ports, Customs and Free Zone Corporation, the regulator of the shipping and maritime sector in Dubai, also introduced new regulations to strengthen transparency, accountability, and competitiveness across the emirate’s maritime sector.

The index was launched in 2014 as a collaboration between the Baltic Exchange, a global maritime market information source, and Xinhua, the Chinese state news agency.

Source: Zawya


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Issue 87 of Robban Assafina

(Sept./ Oct. 2023)


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