Saif Al Mazrouei, Head of Ports Cluster, Abu Dhabi Ports talks to ITM about the disruption from Covid-19, sustainability and the future of smart shipping
How do you think the industry has tackled the Covid-19 crisis, and has it impacted your organisation?
While disruption has been felt across the global maritime and logistics industries, the events of 2020 have accelerated efforts to embrace digitalisation. There has been increased interest within the industry for leading-edge technology like artificial intelligence, Big Data, and other digital solutions that enable agility and unlock new levels of efficiency in operations and across the entire value chain.
Over the past year, Abu Dhabi Ports has not only helped accelerate the digital transformation within the emirate via our digital arm, Maqta Gateway, which ensured trade in Abu Dhabi continued to flourish unhindered, but we also advanced the development of critical infrastructure in support of national efforts to combat the impact of COVID-19.
This included the development of advanced storage facilities for housing cold-sensitive cargo, such as vaccines and food supplies.
Abu Dhabi Ports is also playing a vital role in the global fight against COVID-19 as a member of the Hope Consortium, a UAE-based public-private partnership that is facilitating the distribution of COVID-19 vaccines across the world. We are supporting the Consortium with one of the largest cold and ultra-cold storage facilities in the region and beyond. Our 19,000 square metre facility, which is based in the Khalifa Industrial Zone Abu Dhabi (KIZAD) is capable of storing over 120 million vaccines, at any point in time, at temperatures of +8 °C all the way to -80 °C. This allows the Consortium’s supply chain to accommodate vaccines of any type in current and future production, and deliver these quickly, transparently and safely.
Our extensive storage capacity, along with Abu Dhabi’s strategic capability to reach two-thirds of the global population within a four-hour flight, allows the facility to serve as a distribution hub for vaccine deliveries to MENA, Africa and Asia, and align its supply and resupply schedule according to counties’ ability to absorb the deliveries safely.
Maqta Gateway is playing a major role within the effort by providing the Consortium with mUnity, an innovative digital blockchain-enabled supply chain solution. mUnity tracks and manages the journey of vaccines through the supply chain, from the point of production to the point of immunisation, ensuring that all vaccines are delivered at the right time and in the right storage environment. Together with our partners, we are building capacity to deliver 18 billion vaccine doses to ensure mass and broad distribution to all those in need and turn the tide against the pandemic.
Sustainability is a growing demand in ports and ocean freight, how is Abu Dhabi Ports helping?
As an organisation dedicated to sustainability and the preservation of the environment, Abu Dhabi Ports has fostered a robust sustainability strategy that aims to balance the commercial, environmental, and social dimensions of our development that fall in line with the directives set forth by the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 2030.
Currently, we maintain a stringent air and water quality monitoring programme across our maritime facilities that ensures our carbon targets are met. We also treat the bulk of our wastewater (80 percent) and share it with our tenants in our industrial and commercial zones for reuse in production and manufacturing.
Across our marine facilities, we have implemented a cold ironing process, an efficient pollution control measure where vessels turn off their diesel engines while in port and rely on electricity supplied from an onshore source. This has helped reduce CO2 emissions dramatically since its implementation.
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