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UAE, UAE, ABU DHABI - Transport

Saif Al Mazrouei

CEO of the Ports Cluster, AD Ports Group

Bio

Saif Al Mazrouei is the CEO of the Ports Cluster, with over 20 years of experience in ports and across the shipping and retail industries. Prior to his current role, Al Mazrouei was chief operating officer at
Khalifa Port Container Terminal. Before that, he was executive manager at ADT and also served as a board member and community relations and communications director at Al Habtoor Group. Earlier, he worked in various roles at Union Cooperative Society and DP World. Al Mazrouei holds a bachelor of science degree and a bachelor of arts
degree, majoring in geography from Beirut Arab University, Lebanon.

"AD Ports Group has been able to accomplish satisfying results and achievements over the past few years, which has helped us consolidate and boost Abu Dhabi’s position as a global trade hub."
AD Ports Group’s primary goal is to consolidate and boost Abu Dhabi’s position as a global trade hub, and is rapidly digitalizing to prepare for the future.
Which strategies have been key to transforming the Port Cluster’s infrastructure and positioning it as a premier logistics, transport, and trade hub?

AD Ports Group has been able to accomplish satisfying results and achievements over the past few years, which has helped us consolidate and boost Abu Dhabi’s position as a global trade hub. Within the Ports Cluster, the main factors that have been key in this transformation journey include our partnerships with many regional and international industry giants like ADNOC, COSCO SHIPPING Ports, CMA CGM Group, MSC Shipping, Autoterminal Barcelona, SEZ Ltd, Hutchison Ports, and the Red Sea Ports Authority. Furthermore, the investment in infrastructure, which includes the expansion of Khalifa Port in tandem with neighboring KEZAD Group’s economic zones, Fujairah Terminals, and Mugharraq Port, in addition to embracing digital transformation and logistics technologies, has allowed the Ports Cluster to bring Abu Dhabi to the forefront of global business, in line with the AD Ports Group’s strategic imperative as a fully integrated end-to-end provider of global trade solutions. The Ports Cluster accelerated its service diversification strategy in 2022 with best-in-class container, dry bulk, cruise, and Ro-Ro services. In 2022, the Port Cluster’s revenue increased by 7% YoY to reach AED1,135 million, up from AED1,063 million in 2021. As a regional leader driving the application of digital technologies, we also established the region’s first semi-automated container terminal at Khalifa Port in 2012 by introducing automated ship-to-shore cranes and remote-controlled gantry cranes. Cutting-edge technology, including 42 automated stacking cranes, aerial drones, a 360-sensory system, and an automated terminal operation system make Khalifa Port one of the world’s most technologically advanced ports. This port, essentially, is a case study in digitalizing ports, and we hope to use these lessons elsewhere to continually improve our operations at a group level.

What innovative solutions has the Port Cluster provided across the supply chain?

Re-inventing our operations and looking out for new ways to enhance efficiency has been a constant and continuous exercise. We develop and harness the power of emerging technologies to transform the future of trade, stay competitive, and achieve sustainable growth. With growing concerns around inflationary pressures and economic stagnation, enhancing preparedness for supply chain disruption and developing long-term and adaptable solutions regionally and globally are always top of mind. Increasing investments in cutting-edge technology for use in the trade community is one of our key priorities. For this reason, we laid the foundation of the first of its kind Digital Innovation Lab in the Middle East, which caters to the needs of disruptive technologies such as AI, increased cybersecurity solutions, and the use of robotics to optimize operations.

What are some of the challenges faced by the Ports cluster? And how do you combat these?

A key focus area involves speeding up digitalization and automation processes to enhance efficiency, as well as anticipating demand before it emerges using AI and machine learning, as well as investing in defending logistics networks against risks, given the current speed and acceleration of digital transformation. Sustainability is also a critical part of our operations, utilizing state-of-the-art digital platforms to optimize shipping and port operations with the aim of minimizing emissions and integrating green energy systems. Taken together, these initiatives will ensure we do not simply react to shocks but are well prepared to navigate them effectively and sustainably and are enabling global supply chain resilience and connectivity.

What are your goals into 2023?

Sustainability is at the top of our agenda for this year. With HH Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed’s announcement of 2023 as the Year of Sustainability, entailing a nationwide commitment toward sustainable practices in line with the UAE’s national strategy and COP28, our efforts will be crucial in furthering sustainability goals, whilst striving to further amplify group endeavors. Moreover, we aim to be a key contributor at the upcoming IAPH World Ports Conference 2023, which will be hosted in Abu Dhabi for the first time. Finally, building impactful local and global partnerships continues to be a priority on our journey to strengthen Abu Dhabi’s position as a trade and logistics hub. We hope to create several partnerships across the globe. ✖

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