DUBAI, 10 February 2015: The UAE’s potential as a global maritime hub can be realized in tandem with the further regulation and integration of the UAE marine industry, said Erwin Bamps, Chief Executive Officer of the UAE-based yacht and boat builder, Gulf Craft.
Bamps was speaking at the Dubai Mare Forum 2015, one of the most influential global forums for the maritime and shipping industry. The event brings policy makers and chief executives from the industry under one roof to engage in decisive dialogue and debate, shaping business strategies and policies that determine the future of the maritime sector.
Developing Dubai as a key maritime cluster within the global maritime industry was the focus of the emirate’s second Mare Forum, which was held under the patronage of HH Sheikh Hamdan Bin Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai, and in partnership with Drydocks World and Maritime World.
“We have an excellent opportunity to put the UAE on the map as a maritime industry hub – not only in terms of shipping and freight transport, but also as a world-class producer and service centre for yachts” Bamps said.
“A clear focus on quality production plays a significant role in setting industry trends, but we also see a number of challenges and opportunities that lie ahead of us, mainly in the challenge to foster a closer cross-pollination in all UAE based businesses related to the manufacturing and servicing of yachts,“ Bamps added.
“Key to the growth of Dubai’s maritime sector is the development of a center of excellence for the yachting industry. You can see this model in other successful yachting hubs around the world – Viareggio, Italy is one example. This UAE-based center of excellence would be a network of businesses that provide a wide variety of products and services that are integral to the manufacturing and servicing of yachts, from supplying the material that forms the base of the yacht, to furniture production, painting, electronics, and mechanical engineering support services,” he said.
“This would attract maritime professionals to come and set up shop in Dubai, not for the short-term, but for the long-haul – further bolstering the emirate as a maritime knowledge centre.”
A number of factors are contributing to this imminent need for a center of excellence, according to Bamps. First is the growing interest in yacht-ownership in the UAE and the entire GCC. With the number of yacht owners on the rise, there is a demand for businesses who provide related products and services.
Second, there is also a growing general appreciation for quality products produced and supported locally, and third, there is a significant opportunity to export these products worldwide, further cementing the UAE’s manufacturing position and reputation globally.
“While we may have the initial infrastructure today, we still need both the regulation and integration of the industry to be enhanced in order to make this vision a reality,” Bamps said. “By developing a center of excellence, Dubai will not only operate as a distribution or service center for consumers, but as a global maritime hub in its own right.”