Despite ongoing bear market in oil prices, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) continues to strengthen its role as a global logistics hub by increasing trade with Africa and Iran, according to a British consultancy on Sunday.
William Neill, partner and commercial leasing expert at Knight Frank UAE, said the UAE continues to further strengthen its position as a global logistics hub, helped by its geographical positioning and advanced transport infrastructure.
The rising sector of middle income Africans has encouraged trade and logistics firms to serve the African market, and the UAE becomes increasingly the leading trade point of entry to the continent's three trillion-dollar-economy, the statement said.
As Iran needs "billions of dollars of investments to develop key infrastructure which shrunk substantially due to international sanctions," UAE will re-emerge as Tehran's gateway to global goods and services, according to the statement.
Earlier September, Dubai's state-owned Emirates Airline launched direct flights to the Iranian city of Mashhad in a move to benefit from rising business activities in the Islamic Republic, once sanctions are completely lifted.
UAE is Iran's biggest non-oil trading partner and biggest source country for imported goods. The UAE exported to Iran goods valued at 25.50 billion U.S. dollars in 2014, while Iran exported goods worth 1.04 billion dollars to the UAE, according to the figures released by the UAE ministry of economy.
Neill said that Dubai's position as a logistics hub in particular received another boost with plans recently announced to further integrate the Dubai South (former Dubai World Central) and the Jebel Ali industrial free zone which includes Jebel Ali free port, the world's largest man-made container port.
Dubai South is a 145-square-kilometer planned city around Dubai's new airport Al-Maktoum International which will form with Jebel Ali the future logistics corridor of the UAE.
Expanding the logistics sector is also high on the agenda of the UAE government. On Saturday, UAE Minister of Economy and Foreign Trade Sultan Al-Mansouri said at the Beirut Institute Summit that the Gulf Arab state, a major oil supplier, plans to increase the share of the non-oil sector from 70 percent to 80 percent within the next 10 to 15 years.