3rd TOC CSC Middle East event to assess impact of port development across the Middle East and growth in trade with neighboring regions

London, 06.08.2013 – With as much as US$40 billion slated for investment in the region’s ports, the Middle East is now firmly one of the world’s primary centres for port planning, development and operations. The implications of these world-scale investments will be discussed at the TOC Container Supply Chain Middle East conference, taking place in Dubai on 9-11 December, at the Dubai World Trade Centre, UAE.

Estimates put current annual capacity in the Middle East Gulf at around 25 million TEU, and projects currently in the pipeline - if fully implemented - could add a further 11 million TEU within five years. However, despite the Middle East's strategic position along the Asia-Europe and Asia-Africa trade lanes some have questioned whether this scale of investment can be justified by projected flows of container traffic.

The region’s emerging middle classes are set to continue fuelling new demand for containerised consumer goods, while a rapidly developing industrial base is generating additional export flows. By 2020, the GCC population is forecast to reach 53.5 million, a 30% increase over the level in 2000. Over the same period, the region’s real GDP is expected to grow by 56%. Some experts even argue that the very opening of large new port complexes in parts of the Middle East has the potential to reshape local and regional economies by providing more accessible and - thus lower cost - logistics for importers and exporters.

But what does this really add up to in terms of TEUs? How will competition play out between those ports already in place and those still on the drawing board?

What is clear is that the region’s position makes it a critically important hub for developing trade with both the Indian Subcontinent and Africa. Some 2.2 billion consumers across the Middle East, North Africa and South Asia have emerged as significant drivers of global commerce, and the Middle East Gulf is set to become a prime hub for this huge intra-regional trade.

Of particular concern in the short term is the continuing unrest and uncertainty in Egypt, with potentially dramatic ramifications for the Suez Canal. Maritime industry analysts are already assessing the possible damage that could be inflicted on East-West trade lanes should the Suez Canal be subject to temporary restrictions or even closure.

Speakers at TOC CSC Middle East will examine in detail the connectivity, growth opportunities and challenges that exist between these different economic regions. Key themes at this year’s even include Gulf port competition, capacity and connectivity; logistics infrastructure and port developments across the Middle East; liner operations, transhipment, service strategies and green shipping; plus terminal operations, equipment and technology. The conference will also include a dedicated focus on Africa and the Indian subcontinent and on the region’s petrochemical supply chain.

“TOC CSC Middle East 2013 takes place at a highly significant time for the economies of the Middle East and neighbouring regions,” said Leonard Field, Event Manager. “Although partially affected by the downturn in Western Europe and North America, the Middle East, Indian South Asia and Africa are all witnessing growing integration with global trading patterns.

“This implies significant shifts in the direction and nature of trade with the rest of the world, as business with OECD countries is supplanted by emerging markets. India and China in particular are presenting the GCC with substantial opportunities, driving the region’s ports to expand capacity both for their own trade needs and also to develop as regional supply chain hubs.”

TOC Container Supply Chain Middle East runs 9-11 December at the Dubai World Trade Centre. The event includes 2-day high-level container supply chain conference, free-to-attend port operations and technology seminars, exhibition of port and terminal services, equipment and technology, and industry networking receptions. Now celebrating its 3rd annual edition in Dubai, TOC CSC Middle East attracts over 300 delegates and a further 1000 visitors to the exhibition.


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