UAE: ‘Blue Pass’ project to boost maritime business cluster
The Ministry of Energy and Infrastructure has announced the launch of the “Blue Pass” project in collaboration with Marihub, aimed at creating a cluster of local and international maritime organisations to exchange their services. The project aims to enhance the competitiveness of the UAE’s national maritime sector and promote its position as a leading maritime hub.
The “Blue Pass” project will create quality packages of privileges and facilities that will increase the national maritime sector’s attractiveness to foreign investors. It will also provide additional value to maritime companies operating in the UAE, as well as commercial ships visiting its ports.
This project is one of the transformational projects outlined in the Federal Government Performance Agreements for 2022, which were signed in the presence of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai.
The “Blue Pass” project supports the UAE government’s efforts to accelerate the achievement of the interconnected and technologically advanced infrastructure pillar of the “We The UAE 2031” vision. It aims to contribute to achieving government aspirations and positively reflect on society and the various sectors of the country. The project will be a major supporter in making the UAE the global hub for the new knowledge and data-based economy in the next ten years.
The project will utilize an online portal and smart app to create a unified database of maritime companies, commercial ships, yachts, and recreational vessels operating in the ports and territorial waters of the UAE. This platform will enable these entities to offer their services transparently and seamlessly to all platform members, with the added benefit of utilizing e-commerce to provide supplies and support services at competitive prices.
Commenting on the Blue Pass project, Suhail bin Mohammed Al Mazrouei, Minister of Energy and Infrastructure, said, “The UAE has been a frontrunner in several global competitiveness indicators in the maritime sector. It ranks 3rd globally in the Bunker Supply Index, 5th as a key competitive maritime hub and 12th in the transport lines index. This is the result of the competitive business environment the UAE provides, which attracts major international maritime companies and makes the country’s ports a preferred destination for international shipping lines. However, we will not rest on our laurels. We want to occupy the top position in all international maritime indicators. We are confident that the Blue Pass project will contribute to enhancing the UAE’s maritime reputation. Our destiny is to connect the world and be its top maritime hub. We are keen to enhance the sustainability of the maritime sector and reward all companies and ships that adopt green practices, so that the project becomes an incentive for building a cleaner maritime sector.”
Al Mazrouei pointed out that this partnership complements several initiatives that seek to increase the contribution of the maritime sector to the UAE’s GDP, which is currently estimated at AED90 billion annually. The aim is to make the UAE’s blue economy a major pillar of its national economy.
Hassan Mohammed Al Mansouri, Under-Secretary of Infrastructure and Transport Affairs at the Ministry of Energy and Infrastructure, said, “The maritime industry is one of the sectors that rely heavily on traditional methods and personal relationships in conducting business. This makes it difficult to acquire supplies and services required by maritime companies and merchant ships smoothly. This has led us to search for innovative solutions to facilitate business, reduce operational expenses, and avoid wasting time on supply operations. Therefore, we have launched the UAE Blue Pass project to enable our partners to access all maritime services through a unified digital portal and smart app, allowing ship operators and workers in maritime companies to obtain their needs seamlessly at the touch of a button.”
Hessa Al Malek, Advisor to the Minister for Maritime Transport and Affairs at the UAE Ministry of Energy and Infrastructure said, “The Blue Pass project aims to establish an integrated maritime business community, where everyone can easily provide services and fulfil their requirements through a unified digital portal. The project goes beyond providing a platform for maritime services and supplies, as it also unifies the common needs of companies and ships operating in the sector. This facilitates collective purchasing power and discounts on various support services, such as financing, insurance, training, and port services. The project is expected to reshape the investment environment in the maritime sector in the UAE and the region, creating incentives that attract investors.”
Captain Karim El-Najjar, Founder and Director of Marihub, said, “The UAE is unique in fostering creativity and it considers innovation a major component within its government processes. The maritime sector receives a great deal of attention from the decision-makers to transform it from a model based on routine transactions into a smart sector. They want it to take advantage of the power of data and information to add value to the industry. Since the inception of Marihub, we have seen the great opportunity of unifying all the actors in the sector, building a unified digital base to serve companies and facilitate immediate access to them. It also enables easy entry and participation in the UAE blue economy and highlights promising investment opportunities for those wishing to do business in the maritime sector.”
Al-Najjar added, “The project will take marine services to a new level, creating new rules for buying and selling, exchanging benefits and negotiating for incentives and facilities in the maritime sector. We believe that this model will become a unique success story for the maritime sector in the UAE. Many countries across the world are keen to replicate this model and learn from the UAE’s expertise.”
The Ministry of Energy and Infrastructure has launched several initiatives to complement the Blue Pass project, including the UAE Maritime Cluster and Maritime Network. These aim to build a global network of professionals and experts, enhance the competitiveness of the UAE’s maritime sector, and market it globally.