Trade Corridor exists between Subcontinent and Africa via Dubai
Middle East is ‘filling a gap’ for Africa, Central Asia, India and Pakistan

Dubai, April 21, 2015: The UAE’s National Association of Freight and Logistics (NAFL) has signed Memorendum of Understanding (MoU) with two logistics and freight forwarding industry associations of India to create a framework for cooperation between the two countries and collaborate and support each other in several domains.

The MoUs were signed at the Region Africa and Middle East (RAME-2015) conference of the International Federation of Freight Forwarders Associations (FIATA) which NAFL hosted at the InterContinental Dubai Festival City on April 19 and 20 under the patronage and presence of His Highness Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, President of Dubai Civil Aviation Authority, Chairman of Dubai Airports and Chairman and Chief Executive of Emirates Airline and Group.

David Phillips, President of NAFL, inked the agreements in two separate ceremonies with Debashis Dutta, Chairman of Federation of Freight Forwarders Associations in India (FFFAI), and Sailesh Bhatia, President of Association of Multimodal Transport Operators of India (AMTOI). Francesco Parisi, President of FIATA, who witnessed the ceremonies, praised the efforts towards strengthening cooperation and partnership between the two vibrant and promising regions.

FFFAI is the apex body of custom brokers and freight forwarders and boasts of over 5000 members who accounts for about 90 per cent of logistics trade in India. The federation has 24 associations as its members. AMTOI has over 200 individual members.
Stating that the two agreements will open up opportunities to consolidate the industry in the two economically vibrant countries, David said the Pakistan body has expressed the desire to enter into a MoU with NAFL and efforts will be made to sign similar deals with Sri Lanka and Bangladesh. These arrangements will help in holding regular dialogues with the industry stakeholders and the promotion of freight forwarding and logistics services through the exhibitions and conferences, he added.

The FIATA RAME-2015 was based upon the Trade Corridor that exists between the Indian Subcontinent and Africa, via the Middle East in general and Dubai and UAE in particular.
David Phillips said: “This Trade Corridor is vibrant and exciting. RAME is by itself a very vibrant business corridor, and the UAE and Dubai has been the traditional hub that bridges these regions and facilitates trade. India is now a trade power house, and when included in this ‘Trade Corridor’ makes the region, possibly the most exciting area globally.”

RAME-2015 concluded in Dubai on Monday with the freight and logistics industry stakeholders and government officials successfully debating the emerging growth patterns and the future trends in the Middle East, Africa and South Asian countries which have attractive economic growth and infrastructure development potential.

Representatives of Dubai Ports, Dubai World Central , Dubai Customs, Dubai Trade and Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry utilized the event to share their vision, plans and projects designed to further consolidate the UAE’s position as an ideal hub for global trade flows.

Speakers from Africa and Indian Subcontinent took the debate further by sharing insights about the obstacles to and opportunities for infrastructure development and expansion of freight and logistics facilities to enhance trade flows and better regional partnerships and coordination.

David Phillips said the RAME-2015 was a huge success with over 500 delegates from the Africa and Middle East, India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh, and top management of leading freight logistics companies and organizations attending the two-day knowledge-and-expertise sharing platform. DP World, Emirates, Dubai World Central , Jebel Ali Free Zone Authority (Jafza), Dubai Chambers, Etihad Airways, Freight Systems, TT Club and Newage were among the sponsors.

Basil L. Pietersen, Chairman of RAME said: “RAME-2015 was a lot different than the others regional meetings as all logistics players and freight forwarders in the South Asia, with a focus on India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka, were invited and participated. The business environment between these regions is vibrant and full of opportunities.”

He said RAME presently has 1259 members. FIATA established RAME along with two similar meetings for Asia Pacific and Europe in September 2000. Today, RAME represent 14 national association members from Africa and eight from the Middle East and about 1800 freight forwarding companies are individual members, of which 140 represents 12 countries that do not have national associations. Efforts were being made to enhance membership in the remaining 40 African countries and nine Middle East countries to be national members of FIATA.

Francesco Parisi, President of FIATA, praised NAFL for the successful hosting of the RAME 2015 which had a stellar line-up of 25 speakers from the Africa, Middle East and South Asian regions. He said the concept of Trade Corridors have been growing strongly in different regions. He underscored the need for devoting more efforts and investments for infrastructure development in both developed and developing countries.

Aldo Da Ros, President of FIATA Foundation, briefed the participants about the FIATA Foundation Vocation Training (FFVT) across different parts of the world. He said about 80 per cent of the FIATA members have benefitted from the Train-the-Trainer programme conducted by the FIATA Foundation.

In 2016, the Foundation will focus on Central America and Costa Rica, Guatemala and Panama have shown keen interest in the programmes that FIATA Foundation plans to host next year. He announced that FIATA Foundation will launch its comprehensive website this year along with holding training programmes in different countries, including Cameroon, he said.

The concluding day saw presentation on FIATA World Congress to be held in Taipei from September 8 to 13 this year and submission of candidature of Ethiopia and Cameroon for hosting the RAME-2016. The venue selection will be announced at the FIATA World Congress in Taipei.

According to officials, the global trade in goods and services is expected to cross the $27 trillion mark in 2030. The Middle East, according to the Agility Emerging Markets Logistics Index 2014, offers “extremely lucrative” opportunities for companies able to take advantage of the region’s emergence as a global logistics hub.

Qatar, UAE, Oman, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait ranked highest out of 45 emerging markets countries in the key category of “market compatibility”. The UAE topped all other countries in the Index as having the best domestic and international transport infrastructure and best connections between the two.

Experts said the Middle East is ‘filling a gap’ for Africa, Central Asia, India and Pakistan, which have fast-growing consumer markets and local production but lack adequate transport infrastructure, storage and services. The sector is on a growth trajectory and is witnessing the mega trends that would help establish it as a prominent logistics hub.

The GCC benefits from two unique opportunities – strong growth of volume in the trade lane between Europe and Asia and steady growth and development of manufacturing activities.

According to an industry report by Ti, the Middle East’s regional freight forwarding sector will expand 7.8 per cent annually until 2017.

According to a Frost & Sullivan study, the UAE logistics market valuations are expected to touch a staggering $27 billion in 2015, driven by an increase in import and export trade volumes and upward trends in local manufacturing.

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© Press Release 2015