What are formalities in port operations/ Maritime Business in the UAE in 2022 ?

Approx. 90% of the world’s commerce is covered by maritime trade accounts due to the reason that it is the most cost-effective mode of transport when it comes to a large volume of goods. The UAE seaports are an essential sector that adds a major value to maritime trade, as it derives both economic growth as well as development in the region. In UAE there are several seaports including Jebel Ali, Zayed Port, Khalifa Port, etc.

The ports in UAE account for almost 61 % (percent) of the cargo destined for GCC states of Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, UAE, etc. and these cargos arrive through the UAE. The country boasts of 12 commercial trading ports separate from the oil ports, containing 310 berths and a cargo tonnage of 80 million tons.

In UAE, Abu Dhabi Ports act as a business enabler to provide vital infrastructure for the global maritime industry. It promotes Emirate as a premier regional and international hub by offering an integrated approach through our portfolio of commercial, community, logistics’ and leisure ports. It is growing majorly in terms of our container, general cargo, and bulk and RoRo services, to unleash the vast potential of 90 % of world trade movement that is carried by sea.

Maritime Law

It is said to be an area of law that is not very common but very necessary for the shipping industry and all that is carried out in the water. Maritime law which is also seen as Admiralty law is said to be a body of laws, convention, and treaties that governs private maritime business and other nautical matters, such as shipping or acts that occur on open water. Simply put it can be called the law of the sea.

Eye on Infrastructure

The UAE has interlinked highways connecting Dubai locally and to other countries, and there is good connectivity between airports to seaports, making transporting goods a fast, profitable, and efficient process. Dubai road network includes a customs bonded road between Jebel Ali Port and Dubai World Central that covers the Al Maktoum International Airport. This is the major asset of the city that is it is beautifully designed and hence the connectivity creates no hurdle and allows free flow of trade.


Dubai is a leading shipping hub, it holds relevance in the maritime industry, container logistics, and dry bulk cargo that handles a rapidly growing segment. Significant investment has been made by the government to boost this development.

Challenges during pandemic

The Covid -19 pandemic has deeply affected the commercial trade in the UAE ports and business operations. To deal with the said challenges the UAE ports have proactive measures to ensure the welfare of personnel, seafarers, and port operators. The UAE has effectively poised to provide a regional hub for cargoes, catering to the requirement of the industries in the wider Gulf, covering Saudi Arabia.

To deal with the challenges imposed during the pandemic the ports in the UAE have implemented many safety measures including standard sterilization, use of personal protective equipment, and heightened medical checks. The Dubai ports and the other ports covering the ports of Rashid, Dubai Dry Dock, and Dubai Anchorage have issued new rules recently regarding crew change formalities requiring a pre-approved 96 hours crew visa to sign on or off.

Advantages of UAE Ports

These ports serve as main lifelines between towns connecting residents with their families and providing jobs. They also enable a steady transfer of goods and vital equipment to the islands for major development projects; thereby helping further the diversification goals for this region. UAE is also focusing on a major economic expansion balancing overall development through maritime trade and commerce.

In 2020 the UAE has signed the Abraham Accords to normalize its relationship with Israel, expecting to boost the UAE economy and the entire Middle East region with increased collaboration in economy, trade, medicine, and technology. The ports in UAE continue to drive economic growth along with diversification in the region by strongly focusing on maritime safety as per the international standards.

In the UAE ports were managed by the government of each respective Emirate based on the location of the port. However, recently some Emirates and port authorities have become open to authorizing private entities for the development and management of some areas of the relevant ports, or too stimulating external investment into port operations.