Dubai logistics set for World Expo 2020 boom

The Dubai logistics industry will receive a welcome boost in the run up to its hosting of the World Expo 2020. The construction industry has already benefited from an $8bn investment strategy in buildings and transport infrastructure and work is planned to be completed in October 2019, exactly a year before the World Expo is opened. Vast amounts of concrete and steel been supplied to the exhibition site in addition to other building materials. The many projects associated with the Expo have already led to a significant upturn in breakbulk and project logistics at Jebel Ali Port.

The challenges of such an undertaking are vast. It has been estimated that 37,000 construction workers are on site at peak, creating in effect a small town which needs to be supplied with food, materials and other provisions. Removing waste from the site has been a challenge, along with ensuring that operations are undertaken sustainably. Routing vehicles on-site has to be managed effectively, utilizing latest technologies to ensure that the right product gets to the right location at the right time.

It is envisaged that once construction efforts cease, the character of the products flowing into Dubai will change, with goods of all kinds being needed to sustain visitors and to support the exhibitors themselves. It is likely that container volumes will benefit, as will air cargo, whilst bulk shipping and project cargo requirements will drop off. Siemens has established an airport logistics operation at Dubai Airport and plans to double its workforce there to 2,200 by 2022. The government estimates that over 25 million people will visit the exhibition between October 2020 and April 2021.

As Official Logistics Partner, UPS is behind much of the logistics effort with Alan Williams, who headed up UPS’s London 2012 Olympics operations, also managing logistics for Expo 2020. In total 1,000 UPS staff will work at a dedicated warehouse on the Expo site, an increase from just 12 in 2018, managing flows of goods ranging from air conditioning units to spare parts. UPS is also using the Expo as an opportunity to showcase some of its own technologies such as robotics, drones, electric cars, 3D printing and blockchain. It has also adjusted its international air express network to fly directly from the US to Dubai, previously routing via Europe which added a day to transit times.

Source: Transport Intelligence, April 16, 2019

Author(s): Ti Research Team