The in-person event received the support of leading industry players, and aims to elevate the region’s breakbulk and project cargo sector
Held under the patronage of the UAE Ministry of Energy and Infrastructure, the 2023 edition of Breakbulk Middle East (BBME) opened its doors on the 13th of February at the Dubai World Trade Centre. Registering an increase in visitors, the region’s leading breakbulk and project cargo event witnessed strong interest from industry professionals. The massive participation also indicated the industry stakeholders’ keenness to be a part of a well-knit network that has been instrumental in fuelling the growth of the sector in the past few years.
In addition to reuniting the sector under one roof, BBME’s agenda is strategically prepared to reinforce the growth of the sector, and bolster the region’s economy. Day one of the exhibition and conference incorporated discussions on opportunities that lie in the MENA region, most significant projects in the pipeline, latest trends, potential to tap into new markets, and digitalisation.
Kickstarting day one with his opening remarks, H.E. Eng. Hassan Mohammed Juma Al Mansouri, Undersecretary for Infrastructure and Transport Affairs at the Ministry of Energy and Infrastructure, said, "Since the past three years, the world has faced significant challenges due to supply chain disruptions caused by the pandemic and geopolitical unrests. However, the UAE and its maritime sector emerged resilient and responded swiftly to overcome challenges, and satisfy global needs. Despite the unprecedented crisis, our ports demonstrated exceptional resilience to ensure a smooth flow of goods from one part of the world to the other, ensuring economic stability locally, regionally, and internationally. One of the key factors that enabled us to ensure business continuity and support industrial operations was our early adoption and active utilisation of advanced technology, positioning ourselves as a global icon for resilience and growth."
“Our commitment to securing supply chains and ensuring the wellbeing of our maritime industry can evidently be seen in our competitive global ranking. In addition to ranking third in transport services trade and bunker supply index, the UAE was also re-elected to the Executive Council of the IMO under Category B, further consolidating our role in the global maritime spectrum. Despite these achievements, we look forward to constantly innovate and improve our capabilities in order to cement our position as a leading logistics and shipping hub. The support we have offered Breakbulk Middle East over the years aligns with this vision. BBME has proven to be one of the most successful and reliable events for the industry’s progress, offering a plethora of valuable opportunities, not only to formulate strategies, but also advance the sector in competitiveness,” H.E. Al Mansouri added.
The opening session, "MENA Project Review", highlighted some of the most significant projects in the region’s pipeline. Led by Ryan McPherson, Director, Middle East, Africa, Russia & CIS, EICUK Middle East (Branch), the session provided insights on the potential economic impact of projects such the NEOM and King Salman Energy Park in Saudi Arabia, as well as the North Field East LNG expansion project in Qatar. The day also incorporated discussions on the opportunities that lie in markets such as Africa for the breakbulk and project cargo sector’s expansion during the “Africa as a Region of Opportunity: Outlook, Projects and Entering the Market” session.
Abdulla Bin Damithan, CEO & Managing Director, DP World UAE & Jafza said: "At DP World, we recognise that the project cargo and breakbulk industry is the backbone of many businesses, from energy to construction and everything in between. As a leading smart trade enabler, we continually invest in technological solutions like Dubai Trade and CARGOES and upgrade our infrastructure to cater to the increased demands. Our investments allowed Jebel Ali Port to handle over 40 million metric tonnes of breakbulk cargo in the last 10 years. In 2022 alone, the port handled more than 4 million metric tonnes, up 11 per cent year-on-year and marking one of our most successful years in this sector.”
“As the host port of Breakbulk Middle East, we see the event catalysing growth and development while providing a platform for industry leaders, innovators, and experts to exchange ideas and drive progress. By fostering collaboration and innovation, the project cargo and breakbulk sector can be at the forefront, playing a vital role in accelerating the growth trajectory of the industry" Bin Damithan added.
Uniting industry players
Ben Blamire, Event Director, Breakbulk Middle East, said, “At BBME, our goal has always been to drive the sector’s growth by bringing together industry experts, aspiring professionals, and students for a constructive dialogue and collaboration on new projects. Day one's sessions were very informative and received a positive feedback from our attendees. We hope to continue the same momentum on day 2, and build on this success for next year's event. We are grateful for the unwavering support we have received from the government and private sector entities. We are excited for the day two, where we will address crucial topics such as the role of the women in the sector, and the future of the industry.”
The first day of BBME 2023 incorporated several insightful sessions. Attendees enjoyed the opportunity to attend informative discussions on business outlook, rates, capacity, and sustainability, as well as insights on the role of mega projects in Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and beyond.
Tomorrow promises to be another exciting day with several key sessions and initiatives, including Women in Breakbulk networking breakfast; End-to-End Logistics: Artificial and Business Intelligence Driving Efficiency in Ports; and Wind Energy in the UAE: Transportation, Installation, and Lessons Learnt. The conference will also host the Education Day for students, providing a unique opportunity for the next generation to learn and engage with industry leaders.