Inter-modality is the future of logistics in the UAE and is a key strategy of the Federal Transport Authority in the coming years, according to HE Abdullah Belhaif Al Nuaimi, Minister of Infrastructure Development and Chairman of the Federal Transport Authority – Land & Maritime.
“For us, maritime is not only looking at improving the standards of our ships, ports and our flag as a port state, but our targets are also to improve the trade and business aspect of the sea,” he said at a press conference in Abu Dhabi.
“Recently, along with the Ministry of Infrastructure and related organisations, we began looking into the connectivity of the ports, roads and airports in the UAE. We’re looking into the intermodality of the country’s logistics infrastructure, intermodality will advance this infrastructure, and will improve business and the ease of conducting trade,” he said.
The transportation of freight in an inter-modal container using ship, truck and (soon in the UAE) rail, without any handling of the freight itself when changing modes, reduces cargo handling, and so improves security, reduces damage and loss, and allows freight to be transported faster.
Reduced costs over road trucking is the key benefit for cross-border inter-modal logistics and is a key focus for the UAE. In September last year, the first ever intermodal TIR operation between the GCC and the EU was launched, with a container leaving the UAE bound for Europe under a single customs transit document and a single guarantee.
It travelled from Sharjah to Olomouc in the Czech Republic via Jebel Ali Port and the Port of Hamburg.
Mohammed Jumaa Busaiba, director general of the federal customs authority in Dubai, said at the time: “Using TIR in our intermodal transport increases substantially the UAE’s global competitiveness.”
This was an outlook echoed by Al Nuaimi, who said that the role of the FTA was to coordinate the efforts of the UAE’s seven emirates in pursuing inter-modal logistics projects.
“We’re a country of seven emirates, each authority has its own entity responsible for this and they have their own strategies, what we’re doing is taking their data and making it compatible and accessible for the various entities to ensure that ports and new stakeholders such as Etihad Rail are able to coordinate their projects,” he said.
“Etihad Rail will connect Abu Dhabi, Dubai and the Northern Emirates with Fujairah on our east coast. When I talk about intermodality I’m talking about connectivity, to boost business and meet their demands for the future of logistics, such as the connecting of ports via sea routes, this is all part of our strategy,” he said.