Expo 2020 Dubai has awarded 56 per cent of contracts to small and medium-sized enterprises involved in the organisation and execution of the mega-event, with the logistics industry benefiting most.
“When foreign companies get contracts in the UAE, they need professional support of logistics specialists with wide local and international network to move their set up and equipment to the Gulf country,” explains Shailesh Dash, chairman of Dubai-based Gulf Pinnacle Logistics, speaking to Gulf Today.
More than 26,000 companies from 150 countries have recently applied to be involved in the event, with a total of 180 countries expected to get involved in the coming 19 months before the expo.
“All of these countries wanting to take part in the Expo 2020 will need a range of goods and freight brought in,” says Amadou Diallo, DHL Global Forwarding CEO for the Middle East & Africa in a previous interview with Logistics Middle East.
“We had this experience in Milan and in China and we shouldered the burden of getting all the goods into the country for the expo itself for countries wanting to come and promote their cultures and countries, but also for the immense infrastructure development that comes with events of this kind.”
“And then once the EXPO is over, there’s a lot of material that needs to be shipped by air or sea back to the point of origin, or donated, which is often the case, to other countries,” he says. “These are operations that need to be completely flawless and it’s something that we have become very good at.”
With less than 19 months left for the inauguration of the Expo 2020, its organisers have further speed up the pace of allocating contracts to thousands of local and foreign firms to ensure timely preparation of the event, which is set to be the largest of its kind in the Arab World.
The groundwork for the 173-day milestone Dubai exhibition – which expects to welcome 25 million visitors and more than 200 international participants from 190 countries – have already spurred business opportunities for various sectors with logistics being one of the prime gainers, say experts.
“Thanks to the increased momentum of Expo 2020 preparations, the logistics sector in the UAE – which according to the 2019 Agility Emerging Markets Logistics Index ranks first in the region and third globally – is witnessing a business boom, when other sectors are observing slow growth,” says Rodney Viegas, CEO of AbdulMuhsen Shipping LLC (AMS) and So Safe Logistics LLC (SSL).
“Expo 2020 is expected to drive the logistics and supply chain segment even further and cement the UAE’s position as a global leader in logistics,” he adds.
Demand for the Expo 2020 has supported container throughout in Jebel Ali Port, where global trade slowdown have created drag for further growth, prompting DP World to postpone the launch of its new Terminal 4.
Meanwhile, the total value of the UAE’s Logistics and Distribution sectors have grown to AED 76.78 billion in 2017 and represent about 5.4 per cent of the AED 1.42 trillion UAE economy, according to the Annual Economic Report 2018, published by the UAE Ministry of Economy.
These two sectors are growing at 7.9 percent per annum and are expected to drive the growth of the UAE economy till 2023, according to another report by Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry.