Dubai: The Marine Agency for Wooden Dhows in Dubai played a pivotal role in facilitating the entry of approximately 11,000 wooden ships so far this year, collectively transporting over 1.3 metric tonnes (MT) of cargo.
This achievement underscores the collaborative efforts of the Ports, Customs, and Free Zone Corporation (PCFC) in bolstering Dubai's position as a prominent global maritime commercial hub.
Speaking about the milestone, Sultan Ahmed bin Sulayem, Chairman of the Ports, Customs and Free Zone Corporation, said the PCFC plays an impactful role in advancing trade and business in Dubai. Its efforts have strategically positioned the emirate as a major regional and global commercial hub, attracting trade in diverse sectors through its various ports.
He added that the Marine Agency for Wooden Dhows supports the PCFC’s efforts to contribute to realising the objectives of the Dubai Economic Agenda D33, launched by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, to double the size of the emirate’s GDP and consolidate its status as one of the world’s top urban economies.
Bin Sulayem further said: “The Marine Agency for Wooden Dhows is responsible for streamlining entry and exit processes for wooden ships. It oversees all operations associated with these processes and is actively engaged in implementing several initiatives aimed at expediting clearances for transactions.
“These initiatives have been developed in collaboration with key partners and competent authorities in the country, including the Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship, Dubai Customs, DP World, as well as shipping and clearing companies. This collaborative effort is geared towards delivering world-class services in cooperation with our partners.”
Bin Sulayem said the Marine Agency for Wooden Dhows holds regular meetings with merchants, investors and owners of wooden dhows to discuss ways to develop trade, and generate new ideas for enhancing services and solutions to resolve the challenges they may face.
Mahmoud Amin Khoory, CEO of the Marine Agency for Wooden Dhows, said the most significant success achieved by the agency is in reducing the time required for loading and completing ship procedures from 40 days to around three days. This has played a key role in achieving a 10% increase in the number of ships coming to Dubai compared to the previous year, further solidifying Dubai’s position as a leading global trade hub.
Khoory added: “To enhance the efficiency and streamline the movement of wooden dhows, allowing for multiple trips instead of one per month, we have substantially reduced the waiting time for wooden ships to depart. Previously ranging from 8-10 hours, the waiting period has been cut down to just 30 minutes for sailing outside the emirate. This has significantly increased the flow of wooden dhows, eliminating the need for extended waiting periods in designated areas (the hook). Merchants can now seamlessly manage the loading and unloading of goods, facilitated by comprehensive facilities and advanced coordination of sailing operations 72 hours prior to the ships’ arrival.”
Khoory affirmed the agency’s commitment to ensure the smooth movement of dhows at Dubai Creek, Deira Wharfage, and Al Hamriya Port. He said the agency is constantly working to streamline berth reservation procedures and proactively notify sailors to prepare their goods for export or import. He also highlighted the agency’s dedication to safeguard the interests of wooden ships within Dubai.
“This includes ensuring the safety and wellbeing of seafarers, and addressing their needs during their stay in Dubai. These efforts are aligned with the goal of fostering customer happiness and loyalty, in line with the leadership’s directives.
The Ports, Customs and Free Zone Corporation launched the Marine Agency for Wooden Dhows in 2020 to supervise the movement of wooden ships and regulate all operations related to them in the waters of Dubai.