Dubai announces 'Silk Road strategy' to become global logistics hub

Dubai has unveiled a “Silk Road strategy” to establish the emirate as a global trade and logistics hub.

Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, crown prince of Dubai, approved the strategy, which involves boosting trade through nine initiatives and 33 projects.

The strategy, created by the Ports, Customs and Free Zone Corporation (PCFC) in collaboration with other government departments, focuses on Dubai progressing as a key logistics base and transport link for global trade between the east, west, north and south.

Sheikh Hamdan said: “Our goal of becoming an established global trade and logistics hub will reflect positively on our economy by boosting competitiveness and sustainability.”

Sultan Ahmed bin Sulayem, the chairman of the PCFC, said: “Dubai is moving ahead with boosting its capabilities in trade and logistics services through a new strategy. The strategy augments decades of successful investment in creating renowned ports, airports, and free zones both regionally and internationally.”

The Dubai Silk Road is part of the ongoing 50-Year Charter, which highlights the emirate's role as “a key driver of economic diversification”. The strategy involves Emirates airlines, Dubai Airports, Dubai South, Dubai Free Zones, Dubai Maritime City Authority, Dubai Roads and Transport Authority, and DP World.

Foreign trade going through Dubai’s transport routes contributes significantly to the national economy. Dubai’s non-oil foreign trade reached $354.5bn (AED1.302tn) in 2017, with free zones’ contribution reaching 33%.

Meanwhile, sea trade grew to $127.1bn (AED467bn) and air trade reached $161.7bn (AED594bn) in the same period. The emirate's external non-oil trade reached $262.8bn (AED965.3bn) in the first nine months of 2018, according to bin Sulayem.

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