Gulftainer & Momentum sponsor 5th Trans Middle East Conference and Exhibition in Bahrain
Gulftainer and 3PL subsidiary, Momentum Logistics, participate in Middle East's largest annual ports, shipping & logistics conference
Leading international ports management company Gulftainer, together with its third-party logistics subsidiary Momentum Logistics, participated in the 5th Trans Middle East Conference and Exhibition, which took place at the at the Gulf International Convention and Exhibition Centre in Bahrain from 24 to 25 November 2009.
Gulftainer, named 'Port Authority and Terminal Operator of the Year' at SCATA 2009, shared a stand with Momentum for the exhibition, and was also a sponsor of the event. Gulftainer Group Commercial Manager, Keith Nuttall, was one of the 35 speakers from Europe, the Middle East and Africa, addressing the 500 international sea freight conference delegates regarding some of the concerns relating to ports and shipping, in light of the global financial crisis.
Trans Middle East is the largest annual container ports, shipping and transport logistics exhibition and conference trade event in the Middle East, attended by senior executive maritime industry decision makers from Europe, the Middle East and Africa, and offering participants an ideal marketing and networking platform. This year's event was officiated by H.E. Daij bin Salman Al Khalifa, Chairman of the Board of the General Organisation of Seaports Bahrain, who hosted the conference.
Nuttall's presentation, entitled 'Challenging Times' - The Container Shipping and Ports Environment in the Middle East 2009', focused on the effects of the crisis so far and the necessity of preparing for the future.
"2009 will be the toughest year ever for the container industry; world trade has contracted and there is likely to be minimal growth until 2011. However, the Middle East region should fare better than most. We are expecting considerable economic development in many Middle East countries, such as Iraq, Saudi Arabia and Qatar, and the region's young population, coupled with the large economies and populations in many of the region's countries, will also contribute to continuing growth. Changing world trade patterns will also mean more, bigger ships in the region's ports, something we are already experiencing."
In light of this, efficient, well-equipped relay terminals that act as hubs for the wider region have become essential. Khorfakkan Container Terminal, which Gulftainer manages and operates on behalf of Sharjah Port Authority, is one of the world's leading container transhipment ports and has long been known for its high productivity rates, such as the recently-achieved record-breaking 295 moves per hour, is a prime example of such a terminal. Both Khorfakkan and Gulftainer operated Sharjah Container Terminal are currently undergoing expansion to ensure that they will be able to continue providing top-quality, efficient service to ships of all sizes.
But Gulftainer has not been focusing its energy solely on its port management activities. Said Nuttall, "Even before the financial crisis hit, we saw the need to become more involved in other aspects of the supply chain, which is why we decided to launch Momentum Logistics as a third-party logistics provider offering freight forwarding, transportation, contract logistics, logistics cities and container repair services."
Momentum is based at the Sharjah Inland Container Depot (SICD), which is also undergoing expansion, with 12 new warehouses having already been added this year, and a further 12 under construction.
"There is no doubt that the UAE will continue to be a dynamic business hub, despite challenges and downturns in other parts of the world, though local property/ construction market will take time to recover," said Nuttall. "Trade volumes both locally and for the region have been affected, but we expect to see them rebound slowly in 2010 then speed up. Most economies in this region will recover quickly in the next couple of years with decent growth. Through the expansion of both our port management operations and our logistics business, with Momentum, we aim to be ready to deal with the upsurge in volumes and activity when it does occur, and until that time, our efficient, cost-effective service can help lines minimise their costs during this difficult period."
With terminals on both UAE coasts, Gulftainer are ideally located and equipped for coping with tomorrow's ship and volume demands in the region. Through the expansion of its two terminals, as well as its other projects, which include the launch of third-party logistics company Momentum Logistics, Gulftainer is investing for the future in order to maintain its high productivity and to continue to provide the fastest transhipment and local cargo container gateway in the UAE.