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02 June 2023

Dubai non-oil foreign trade surges 22% in first nine months of 2019


The Emirate of Dubai's non-oil foreign trade volumes surged to 83 million tonnes in the first nine months of 2019, revealed Dubai Customs on Saturday. These figures represent an increase by 22 percent year-on year from 68 million tonnes during the same period in 2018.

According to the customs authority, the volume of re-exports jumped 48 percent to 13 million tonnes, while exports rose by 47 percent (14 million tonnes) and imports grew by 13 percent (56 million tonnes).

The Director-General of Dubai Customs, Ahmed Mahboob Musabih, confirmed that these 2019 achievements serves as further incentive for 2020 aspirations. He asserted that '4th of January Document' announced by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, "will be a great inspiration for more dedicated work towards more sustainable development."

The '4th of January Document' announcement coincided with the 14th anniversary of the accession of His Highness as Ruler of Dubai. The document detailed the formation of a new Dubai Council who's objective is to enhance the emirate's competitiveness across all areas and sectors, Musabih explained.

Another accomplishment attained by Dubai Customs in 2019 was the rise of the number of transactions carried out by the Dubai government department, recording an increase of 34 percent, or 13 million transactions, compared to 9.7 million in 2018. The customs authority attributed this increase to its "advanced services delivered by Dubai Customs to its clients," thus reflecting the "robust and health" economy and trade the emirate has on a regional and global scale.

"Dubai trade with the world crossed the trillion mark growing by six percent to reach AED1.019 trillion in the first nine months of 2019 from AED966 billion in the same period in 2018," Musabih noted. Exports rose by 23 percent to AED118 billion, re-exports grew by four percent to AED312 billion, and imports were up three percent at AED589 billion.

"In support of this growth," he added, "Dubai Customs launched a number of initiatives that aim to facilitate and enhance trade, including 24 projects in support of the upcoming EXPO 2020."

The Dubai Customs Director-General affirmed, "We are now fully connected with other government partners to ensure best services are delivered to EXPO 2020 exhibitors. We managed to reduce time needed to fill out declaration applications from 20 minutes to just five minutes with the help of many advanced applications and platforms including the Smart Workspace. Facilitating trade and providing excellent services to our clients is a priority and a daily practice and not just a slogan that we raise. This is what put us first on top of the client happiness meter with 98 percent."

The customs authority noted that Dubai made constant quarterly profits in 2019, with the third quarter attaining the highest trade activity valued at AED343 billion (seven percent growth).

Dubai’s foreign trade out of free zones was a big contributor to the overall increase, accounting for AED439 billion, an 11 percent (+AED45 billion) increase year-on-year. Direct trade achieved two percent growth at AED574 billion, a AED10 billion increase compared to the first nine months in 2018. Customs warehouse trade hit AED6 billion, land borders trade grew by 11 percent contributing AED169 billion, maritime and ports trade increased by five percent to AED381 billion, and air cargo trade rose by four percent, accounting for AED469 billion.

In 2019, the Emirate of Dubai also launched the World Logistics Passport, to facilitate trade. The passport is designed to boost the role of the 'Dubai Silk Road' programme that paves the way for major growth and expands the UAE's role in the global economy by enhancing the demand for the emirate's products, services and integrated transportation systems.

In terms of securing borders, Dubai Customs boasts highly qualified inspection officers and sophisticated technology that enabled them to make 3,807 confiscations. Smuggling attempts included a major haul that weighed 251.2 kg of crystal meth and 6.4 kg of heroin, with an estimated market value of AED25 million. The customs authority also registered 53 intellectual property cases with a market value of around AED11 million.

Dubai Customs completely redeveloped its customs operations room at Jebel Ali and Tecom Customs Centre. The operations control room is a first of its kind in the region and is equipped with the most advanced and smart electronic systems to efficiently aid in customs activities and operations.

The in-house redevelopment will help streamline inspection activities and reduce time needed for inspection. The Dubai Customs booking system has been linked to that of DP World, which enables clients book inspection slots directly once they receive codes from DP World.

The customs authority boasts having the most advanced inspection and scanning systems worldwide. These include the advanced container scanning system, which has the capacity of handling 150 trucks per hour, and the Vessel Smart Tracking System, among many others.

In response to the leadership’s announcement for this year's '2020: Towards the Next 50' in the UAE through developing leading projects and initiatives, Dubai Customs organied a customs meeting to discuss the future of trade and the latest trends in the supply chain. A higher management team was put in charge to develop a strategic plan for the next 50 years.

Dubai Customs has proven its weight in the global customs supply chain and trade industry. Through its smart services, Dubai Customs has gained the attention and praise from various global bodies, including the World Customs Organisation, WCO, which praised the customs authority's performance on the sidelines of the WCO Council's 133rd and 134th Sessions in Brussels, Belgium.