Jebel Ali Free Zone, Jafza, has recently recorded 10.6 percent growth in the retail and e-commerce sector with a total trade value of AED37.6 billion despite the sudden challenges facing both regional and global economy.
More than 1,000 companies from 96 countries play a pivotal role in Jafza’s retail and general trading sector. Approximately 39 percent of these companies are from the Middle East, 30 percent from Asia, 15 percent from Europe, nine percent from North America, seven percent from Africa and one percent from Oceania. In total, they employ more than 10,000 personnel and operate across combined facilities that are nearly two million square metres.
Despite the decline of business activity in the region, the shift in technology has introduced a new market segment. The retail community can count on Jafza to support their end-to-end logistics needs through its digital innovations. Jafza improves the flow of sea-to-air cargo by eliminating the processes of exit and entry from one zone to another.
Mohammed Al Muallem, CEO and Managing Director, DP World, UAE Region and CEO of Jafza, said, “The e-commerce business sector was issued the highest number of licences in the UAE, during May 2020. The first five months saw a 300 percent increase in consumer demand for e-commerce services.”
Al Muallem explained, “The recent pandemic has caused a shift in consumer buying habits, a behaviour that impacted a positive outcome proving that the internet is the major catalyst in shaping human lives and digital profiles. DP World has introduced Manasah, an online platform targeting retail in the UAE and the Digital Freight Alliance with its global imprint, an internet marketplace for small- to medium-sized enterprises. We are working closely with these retailers to help transfer their stores into online platforms. Further studies need to be done to evaluate and plan a rebound of the economy keeping in mind that online shopping is a natural progression and is now a part of nearly every consumer’s life. We see greater importance on technology-enabled solutions as well to ensure safety across the supply chain.”
In addition to the flexibility and trade facilitation under one single window “Dubai Trade”, Jafza offers a tax-free business environment with reputable regulatory bodies. It also allows existing business owners to apply for additional licences, making them dual business licence owners.
Jafza recently announced the “Jafza Customer Support Initiative” with a 50 to 70 percent reduction of registration, licencing and related administration functions fees in Jafza as well as for new investors. A range of online services is offered free of cost as a direct result of the on-going digitalisation process. “Such effective initiatives aim to assist more than the 8,000 businesses that operate out of Jafza and hundreds of new businesses attracted by the premier Free Zone’s plug and play infrastructure and solutions for trade,” Jafza noted.