Issue 59: Going Digital is the New Normal

As We Entered 2020, We Were All Unaware That a Black Swan Event in the Form of the Covid-19 Pandemic Was on Its Way.

Recent months have been challenging for us all. The most important priority, of course, has been keeping our families safe, as well as ensuring the well-being of our colleagues and customers. Businesses have had to navigate a way through, to find a way to survive. Now, attention is beginning to turn to how we can thrive in the new normal. The lessons that we have learned in the last few weeks that can help us.

At Jebel Ali Freezone (Jafza) we reacted quickly to the pandemic. We stepped up sanitization and other health measures and supported our customers. In early March, we announced a reduction of up to 70 per cent in all business- related fees through its Customer Support Initiative. The discounts in registration, licensing and related administrative fees benefited the more than 8,000 businesses that operate out of the free zone as well as new investors. In addition, a range of other online services were offered free of cost.

We also quickly learned that working online was not just necessary but could also be beneficial. It has been said that many companies and organisations have advanced more into digital in a matter of weeks than they had previously done in years. DP World is no exception. We accelerated the roll out two new initiatives –Manasah an online platform targeting retail in the UAE and the Digital Freight Alliance with its global imprint. Manasah began as an idea to support traders in traditional Ramadan bazaars in the UAE to move their businesses online. It is continuing as an internet marketplace for small to medium sized enterprises.

The Digital Freight Alliance, together with our SeaRates, LandRates and AirRates platforms, moves the management of logistics online for customers. DP World’s vision is to digitise supply chains leveraging our worldwide infrastructure of ports, terminals, economics zones and other assets. The digital platforms enable freight forwarders, and the owners of cargo, from giant multinationals to individuals, to move anything from anywhere to anywhere, at the click of a mouse.

Our digital innovations are part of the new normal we are entering where, increasingly, all business, including Retail, will shift to online platforms and make more extensive use of digital technology, not just here in the UAE but across the region and beyond. The time has come for a more purposeful, inclusive merger of retail, including the logistics that support it, with technology.

Digital is the way forward for the logistics industry and Jafza is ready to support our partners with a reach that spans the globe, matched with cutting edge digital platforms. While the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) has forecast a global production and manufacturing output drop of 9 per cent year-on-year, history has shown that the economy will recover.

The UAE’s Retail community can count on Jafza to support their end-to-end logistics needs and Jafza will continue to deliver its world-class services.

Trade connects us even when we cannot be together.

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