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DLC rolls on after reshuffle

Michael Proffitt, CEO, Dubai Logistics City, brings Christopher Sell up to date with progress on the development and how the overall plan has changed after Enterprise Park was dropped.

Proffitt says that Enterprise Park has been dropped as there are other developments in Dubai that cater for the science and technology markets. (Frank
Proffitt says that Enterprise Park has been dropped as there are other developments in Dubai that cater for the science and technology markets. (Frank

Michael Proffitt, CEO, Dubai Logistics City, brings Christopher Sell up to date with progress on the development and how the overall plan has changed after Enterprise Park was dropped.

What developments have been made at Dubai World Central over the last six months?

The cargo terminal, Dubai Logistics City (DLC) offices and infrastructure are all currently under construction. Panelpina, a major forwarding logistics company is the first customer to have mobilised and started construction. We expect to go live with the runway for cargo in the last quarter of 2008 and the second quarter of 2009 for passengers.

I gather there have been some changes to the masterplan as Enterprise Park is being withdrawn?

Exhibition City is moving, and Aviation City, which will be for manufacturing, support services and education in the aviation industry, is expanding.

Enterprise Park was for science and technology but there are other areas which focus on that in Dubai.

You have spoken with confidence on the potential success of DLC. Do you still feel this?

If anything I am more confident, because the uptake level is very high. I think the recognition of the project - we have been promoting it for two years - within the industry is very high. And I am happy because people are talking about schedules as opposed to what the project is about.

Are the growing economies of China and India a threat to the Dubai logistics market?

China is not even a competitor, and the nature of Dubai is a hub. We have defined our greater region as a four-hour flying time from Dubai, so that takes in southeast Europe, CIS, the Indian subcontinent, Middle East and Africa.

If you go four hours from Dubai and four hours from Singapore, there is little overlap. So, in global hub terms they are complementary as opposed to competitors. India is a major opportunity, because the Indian economy is set to grow strongly.

But a lot of it is about having depth of services - both aviation and sea-services and deep-sea and short-sea shipping - so we feel we are well placed to work with and benefit from Indian growth.

What is so special about DLC?

It is the nature of the hub. You have 70% of goods in transit and then you have the goods held here for regional distribution.

So bringing together one of the largest airports in the world and the region, and the largest port in the region at Jebel Ali, offers a unique platform and depth of services.

Will India ever be able develop that to the same extent? It probably will at same stage, but it is a good few years away.

Did you study other hubs like Singapore and Amsterdam?

Yes, there were a number of airports and logistics environments around the world we visited, trying to take the good points and make sure we did not replicate the bad points.

What are the bad points you are keen to avoid?

We are concentrating on achieving the best flows of cargo to get the most effective and efficient platform, and having the forwarders right alongside the cargo terminals is important.

Providing all of this alongside an airport is fairly unique, normally it is held a long way off. But trade and logistics is such an integral part of Dubai's plans; that is why a chunk of this city caters for the logistics environment.

Is that the thinking behind the concept of DLC?

In terms of Dubai as a hub, it is about employment, business and attracting companies - all non-oil related. Oil is 6% of GDP; if you look at the strategic plan, trade and logistics are a major part of it.

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