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Breakbulk Middle East 2021 Unites Leading Universities

by Eddie Rayner

As part of its vision to support the breakbulk and project cargo industry, Breakbulk Middle East (BBME), the GCC’s leading breakbulk and project cargo event has tied up with leading players in the education sector for its sixth edition. Their primary goal is to enhance the professional competencies of students and the youth, who hope to be a part of the industry that is one of the most important pillars for a sustainable economy.

Held under the patronage of The UAE Ministry of Energy and Infrastructure, the two-day event that is scheduled to take place from February 9 to 10, 2021, aims to promote the growth of the industry by educating young aspiring professionals about the industry. Through the Education Day initiative, BBME brings together students from key universities and academies in the region and prominent leaders from the local, regional and international industry under one roof. Raising awareness about the career opportunities available in the industry is one of the main aims of the event that sheds light on the operations of the ever-evolving industry and provides insights on its business operations. The platform is an ideal destination for students looking to explore opportunities in the field and learn from distinguished names.

Collaborating with Industry Leaders

The breakbulk and project cargo sector play an essential role in the Middle East region. Countries like the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait are front-runners in this sector, representing a complex market that encompasses commodities as varied as steel and forest products through to heavy-lift shipments for wind turbines and equipment for construction work.

The UAE occupies the top-most position in many international maritime indicators. It is the first in the Arab world and the fourth globally in the port quality index by Mordor Intelligence, a global market research and consulting firm. According to the Federal Competitiveness and Statistics Authority, in 2018, the total output for the logistics services sector reached AED 219 billion. The sector is expected to see an increase of 8% by 2021. Therefore, motivating students to contribute to the growth of the industry with enterprising ideas is fundamental to building a sustainable economy for future generations.

For the 2021 edition, Breakbulk Middle East has partnered with several universities in the region including the College of International Transport and Logistics at the Arab Academy for Science, Technology and Maritime Transportheadquartered in Alexandria, the Academy’s branch in Sharjah, UAE, Higher Colleges of Technology in Abu Dhabi, Abu Dhabi Maritime Academy, Middlesex University Dubai and Jordan Academy for Maritime Studies.

Dr Ahmed Youssef, Associate Dean of the College of Maritime Transport and Technology at the Arab Academy for Science, Technology and Maritime Transport, Sharjah Branch, said: “We are confident that our partnership with BBME will help us in our grand mission. It will allow us to employ our capabilities to foster growth in all our branches, especially in our headquarters in Alexandria, aiding us to build partnerships with influential names in the industry, in order to conduct economic and marine studies and help in the development of their projects. The importance of this role increases in light of the major challenges facing the industry in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Scientific research and academic studies have become increasingly important to find the best practices and solutions to maintain the sector’s sustainability and enhance its digital transformation.”

Capt. Saud Zanbarkji, Marine Specialist &Lecturer at the Higher Colleges of Technology in Abu Dhabi said: “The Education Day initiative at BBME represents an ideal opportunity for us to introduce our students, in the various disciplines we offer, to the ample opportunities in the industry. Our college is a reservoir of talent, and we trust that our young cadres can contribute to the booming economy of the UAE in a major way. Hence, making them aware of what’s in store is our top priority.”

“Although we at Middlesex University Dubai do not offer programmes in the fields of shipping and maritime, we recognise the significance of these sectors and are glad that our students will get the chance to learn about the employment opportunities that the maritime industry can provide. Financial, administrative, marketing and many other fields are among the specialisations that we offer, and these streams too are essential in the breakbulk and project cargo industry. By participating in Education Day, our students will learn about the opportunities in these specialised sectors and how they can be integrated within the industry,” asserted Dr Cedwyn Fernandes, Pro-Vice-Chancellor and Director, Middlesex University Dubai.

Prof. Mustafa Massad, President, Jordan Academy for Maritime Studies, said: “The maritime sector is the driving force for economies around the world. Hence, all countries in the region must consider ways in which we can enhance the industry. In this regard, supporting academic institutions should be a priority as they provide the industry with qualified national cadres. To ensure the consistent growth of the industry and secure the future of generations to come, we must utilise the capabilities of local talent. We offer our full support to BBME’s Education Day initiative as it is helping us accomplish this strategic goal.”

Reinforcing the Maritime Sector

Launched in 2020, The Education Day initiative witnessed a large number of key leaders from the industry who doled out career advice and spoke about their learnings in the industry. Students and participants got the chance to interact and gain valuable knowledge from these influential names.

Ben Blamire, Event Director, Breakbulk Middle East, explained: “The breakbulk and project cargo sector and the maritime industry, in general, is chronically suffering from a lack of competent professionals. Due to the pandemic, there is now an increasing demand for highly skilled individuals who are equipped with industry knowledge and are technologically savvy, especially when it comes to automation and other digitally-enabled solutions.”

Blamire added: “The launch of Education Day was a great success in 2020, so, we were certain that we had to bring it back for our sixth edition. With this move, we are working towards achieving the goals of the ‘Imagine the Future of the UAE 2071’ initiative by H. H. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai. We take pride in the fact that we have, year after year, found partner institutes who believe in our mission and are working towards the common goal of strengthening the industry. We are confident that this year, with the outstanding line up of events and speakers that we have on board, the participants will experience an event like no other.”

Leslie Meredith, Marketing Director, Breakbulk Events & Media, said: “We realised early on in BBME that it was imperative to have initiatives that have a lasting impact on the industry. Education Day is definitely one such endeavour that occupies a distinctive position, gaining considerable support due to its ability to mould the minds of students. Through the event, they get an insider’s view of the industry and a chance to interact with experts. It is a golden opportunity for them to get acquainted with the needs of the industry. The fact that we are helping to build the industry by enabling young people and giving wings to their dreams is thrilling.”

Through its pioneering initiatives, BBME hopes to open up new avenues for the younger generation, supporting them to contribute to the development of the industry, locally, regionally and globally.