Two years after setting up the Marine Agency for Wooden Dhows to revive and regulate the use of dhows to make Dubai a regional hub for these historical merchant vessels, the emirate continues to witness robust growth in dhow trade.
The Marine Agency for Wooden Dhows, established in July 2020 by Dubai’s Ports, Customs and Free Zone Corporation (PCFC), facilitated the entry of more than 6,000 wooden dhows during the first half of 2022, reflecting a 21% year-on-year growth.
Sultan Ahmed bin Sulayem, Chairman of the PCFC, noted that the Marine Agency supervised the movement of 6,052 wooden dhows during the first half of 2022, which ferried 1 million metric tonnes of merchandise from countries across the MENA region and beyond. He said the agency remains keen to keep pace with the UAE’s vision to rejuvenate the use of dhows and consolidate Dubai’s position as a regional hub on the dhow trade map.
Bin Sulayem highlighted that Dubai’s three wharfages – Dubai Creek, Deira Harbour and Al Hamriyah Port – play a key role in making the emirate a regional hub for dhows. He said the Marine Agency for Wooden Dhows, which is exclusively responsible for regulating the activity of wooden dhow ships in Dubai waters, has simplified and expedited procedures related to the docking, departure, and clearance of merchandise of the vessels in Dubai.
The Agency also coordinates with other government entities to manage all aspects of maritime safety of wooden ships and safeguard the rights and interests of seafarers working on them. The Agency provides several commercial options for the vessels, such as facilitating long-term contracts for their services and protecting their merchandise from damage during loading and unloading operations at Dubai ports.
Bin Sulayem said the Agency aims to streamline the procedures further to boost commercial dhow traffic and facilitate local and foreign merchants’ direct access to the local market. He added that the Agency intends to continue growing dhow trade by regulating and developing the operations of dhows and ensuring maritime safety in cooperation with other relevant bodies.