New port community system “Maqta Gateway” interlinks all of the relevant parties involved in Abu Dhabi’s trade business
Under the patronage of HH Sheikh Hazza bin Zayed Al Nahyan, National Security Advisor and Vice Chairman of the Executive Council of Abu Dhabi, Abu Dhabi Ports recently launched a new port community system that will dramatically transform the Emirate’s way of doing business.
The new system, called “Maqta Gateway”, is an electronic information and operations platform that will interlink all of the relevant parties involved in Abu Dhabi’s growing import and export trade business, while significantly enhancing processing times and communication procedures.
“Maqta Gateway” takes its name from Abu Dhabi’s historical Maqta Bridge which was the first crossing to link the island with the mainland. It was a crucial connection for Abu Dhabi’s trade and development. The “Maqta Gateway” project follows this example by being a crucial “bridge” for establishing the Emirate’s next generation of trade.
“Global supply chains are becoming increasingly complex with faster turnaround times as the demand in goods increases. According to Lloyds Register Global Marine Trends 2030, seaborne trade will increase from 9 billion tons annually to between 19-24 billion tons by 2030”, says Mohamed Juma Al Shamisi, CEO, Abu Dhabi Ports, and he continues:
“In addition, global trade patterns are shifting from predominantly Asia-Europe to more Intra-Asia, and Asia-Middle East. As a result, the Middle East is growing in importance as a global trade hub. Therefore, it is our responsibility to create state-of-the-art infrastructure that caters for this growth and lays the foundations for the future of trade.”
A big advantage of “Maqta Gateway” is that it feeds into wider global supply chain communication platforms and brings national, regional and international business partners closer together. By doing so, it offers ports, exporters, importers, shipping lines, customs and government agencies a single point of contact and real time information at any place and time of the day – even via mobile.
Whether for customs declarations, container tracking, freight enquiries, berth bookings, lease renewals or truck registrations, “Maqta Gateway” connects people on different levels, allowing for more transparency, visibility and efficiency and thus a better coordination between the different entities.
A further advantage is that the system significantly reduces paperwork and administration times. Consequently, waiting times, for example for container vessels and trucks, are being considerably reduced. This leads to faster yet smooth transport and logistics operations, while saving time and costs.
According to the Organisation for Economic Co-operations and Development (OECD), every day saved in the trade lane is worth approximately 0.5% of trade value of goods. It is also said that systems like “Maqta Gateway” reduce trade administration costs by 50% per TEU/ton of cargo.
Abu Dhabi Ports has always been keen on introducing latest technologies to respond to the needs of the 21st century and to further optimise operations and the wide range of service offerings for its customers.
In 2013, Abu Dhabi Ports introduced the “e-Pass”, an electronic pass, which significantly reduces processing and waiting times for customers entering and exiting Abu Dhabi’s ports.
The pass offers customers the opportunity to register and submit documents online. It also offers different gate pass applications, online status tracking and a dedicated mobile application, adding further long-term value to the ports of Abu Dhabi Ports.
Furthermore, Abu Dhabi Ports introduced tags for trucks to make their entry to and exit from the ports more convenient, while enabling quicker turnaround times. As a result, the truck turnaround time at Khalifa Port’s ultra-modern semi-automated container terminal has now dropped to just twelve minutes, making the terminal the most efficient in the region.
“A key business strategy of Abu Dhabi Ports is to facilitate development and trade to support the diversification of the Emirate’s economy which is a main pillar of the Abu Dhabi Economic Vision 2030. The usage of latest technologies is a prerequisite not only to be at the forefront of progress but to face tomorrow’s challenges and turn this vision into reality”, Al Shamisi says.
As cornerstones of the Abu Dhabi Economic Vision 2030, Abu Dhabi Ports’ flagship Khalifa Port and its adjacent Khalifa Industrial Zone represent one of the biggest industrial undertakings in the Emirate and a prime example of advanced infrastructure.
Khalifa Port – the first semi-automated container port in the region – is one of the most technologically advanced ports in the world today, featuring nine super-post-Panamax cranes, some of the biggest in the world, as well as 42 cutting edge Automated Stacking Cranes (ASCs) and 20 straddle carriers.
The port offers an unprecedented intermodal transportation network via sea, road, air and soon rail, and provides market access to 4.5 billion people within four time zones. At present, the port is serving 20 shipping lines and has direct links to 52 destination ports around the globe.
“Efficient operations are key in every step of Abu Dhabi’s import and export business and this efficiency depends on the way in which information is shared and exchanged by the organisations involved. ‘Maqta Gateway’ provides an excellent platform for information sharing and invites all of these organisations to work closely together”, says Noura Al Dhaheri, Ports Community System Manager, Abu Dhabi Ports.
In December last year, Abu Dhabi Ports signed Memorandum of Understandings (MoUs) with six partner organisations all of whom will be integral in developing “Maqta Gateway”. These organisations include the Ministry of Environment and Water (MOEW), Abu Dhabi Airports, the Abu Dhabi Food Control Authority (ADFCA), Abu Dhabi Customs Administration (ADCA), Etihad Rail and Abu Dhabi Terminals (ADT).
The new port community system will be developed in stages throughout 2015, including vessel management facilities, and basic import and export processing functionality. Further releases will be deployed through 2016 and 2017.
Abu Dhabi Ports has set up a dedicated team to drive and manage “Maqta Gateway”. The recent launch of the system will be followed up by the formation of steering groups and technical committees which will include representatives from all key parties involved.
“’Maqta Gateway’ is an ongoing project as we will continue to add improvements and additional functionality over the years to anticipate our customers’ requirements and ensure that we are offering comprehensive solutions to support their supply chain and logistics planning”, Al Dhaheri explains.
“Shippers, and shipping lines will find Khalifa Port even more attractive when its state-of-the-art technology and equipment is completed with the new port community system, as Abu Dhabi will be seen as more efficient and much easier to do business with. This will enable us to attract more volume, making the port a first choice for importers and exporters”, Al Shamisi adds.
As a result of the introduction of the “Maqta Gateway” project, Abu Dhabi Ports is the first organisation in the GCC region to become a member of the International Port Community Systems Association (IPCSA), a global body which promotes the highest possible standards in international port community system operators. This membership offers opportunities to share best practices and to keep ahead of the most up-to-date industry technology.