Focus: GPCA logistics forum
Calls made for more dialogue between governmental agencies
Calls made for more dialogue between governmental agencies in the region at last month’s GPCA logistics forum in Manama
The first Supply Chain Forum for the transport of petrochemical and chemical products was held in Manama, Bahrain, at the Gulf Hotel, with the theme ‘current trends and preparing for future growth’ in October.
Distinguished speakers at the forum included representatives of regional leaders such as SABIC and TASNEE and other regional players including Al Majdouie Group, Kanoo and United Arab Shipping Company.
International speakers included representatives of A.T. Kearney, Antwerp Port Authority, Vopak and Maersk.
The forum was held at a time when petrochemical exports from the region face difficulties in accessing Asian markets, due to the anti-dumping duties which were initiated in China and India on methanol and polypropylene exports.
Dr Abdulwahab Al-Sadoun, secretary general of the GPCA announced that the Supply Chain Forum will become an annual event to be held in Bahrain. “The supply chain is one of the most important components of the petrochemicals and chemicals industry, and GPCA wants to make sure that the regional industries as well as the service providers evolve a common understanding about finding solutions to the supply chain challenges of our region,” Al-Sadoun said.
Participants at the forum discussed the challenges facing the supply chain of the petrochemical industry, especially because it is still young and requires focus. “In the Middle East, the supply chain is still in its infancy and it may take time for the industry to take on the supply chain, end to end,” said Dr. Abdulaziz Al-Bati, general manager, supply chain at Tasnee Petrochemical Complex. “The impact of the current financial crisis will force the supply chain executives to accelerate the progression of the supply chain in the Middle East region,” Al-Bati added at the forum.
Participants agreed that supply chain services need to be improved to meet international standards, especially in infrastructure and the safety of roads. “Road transportation in the GCC does not meet international safety standards. This was repeatedly debated during the conference,” said Jawahar Coelho, branch manager of transportation at Norgas.
Closer communication between the different governmental bodies was discussed. It is hoped that it would help producers in the region maintain the feedstock advantage which has thrust the industry to the position it finds itself in today. “Active dialogue among the various government authorities, port authorities, leading petrochemical producers and supply chain providers within the Middle East region would be a good start,” concluded Sajid Ahmed eastern branch manager at Al Majdouie Transport.