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JANUARY - MARCH 2012

VOL. 1, ISSUE 1


EDITOR’S NOTE

New Year, New Beginnings EDITORIAL DAVID PHILLIPS Editor-in-Chief JOEL TAN Contributing Writer JUAN CLAUDIO ALEGRO Layout Artist ADVERTISING AND SALES NAFL MEDIA DESK mediadesk@nafl.ae NAFL SECRETARIAT nafl@emirates.net.ae SUPPLEMENTS AND CONTRACT PUBLISHING LACHELLE AREVALO - SAKER Publishing Director 1SMS www.1SMS.asia

Copyright 2012 National Association of Freight and Logistics, Sheikh Zayed Road, After Defense Roundabout, Ground Floor, Dunkin Donuts/Baskin Robbins Building, Dubai 60944, United Arab Emirates. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise without the prior permission of the publisher.

Dear NAFL Members, et me be the first to welcome you not only to the dawning of a new year but also to a new and vigorous chapter in the enduring history of the National Association of Freight and Logistics and to the first edition of NAFL News. This year, 2012, marks an important milestone for the NAFL. Our organization’s teen years are behind us, making room for new years to make our mark in the freight and logistics industry beyond the United Arab Emirates. As with the turning of every year, it is time to look back and reflect on the events of the previous year and to look forward with optimism and enthusiasm. In October 2011, a new executive board, consisting of a perfect blend of the old and the new, was elected. Half of the board are newcomers, but this does not mean they are inexperienced. They bring with them fresh ideas and a new determination to execute agreed plans and initiatives. A short profile of our new board is featured in this edition. One of our most important plans for 2012 is growing our membership. Looking back at our 20-year history, we can see our growth. From an initial membership of 24, we now have close to 300 members. We’re aiming for a bigger number, which is why we are aggressively pursuing membership from other Emirates. I think the NAFL, being the official representative body in the UAE of the International Federation of Freight Forwarders Associations (FIATA), has a lot to offer freight and logistics professionals and companies. First, the NAFL continues to be at the forefront of the logistics and freight industry in the region. Second, the NAFL has a huge role to play in ensuring that its members are geared to meet challenges and that the UAE continues to occupy its enviable position as a competitive and efficient Global Hub. Third, the NAFL offers various training modules aligned with FIATA initiatives. This endeavor has proved very successful and plans are afoot to take it to the next level by allocating a dedicated team focused on the training needs of our members. Indeed, 2012 is a milestone for us, a milestone that needs recognition, both in terms of longevity and the people behind our group’s success. I invite you to stay tuned for more information regarding this glorious event. David Phillips President

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INSIDE NAFL NEWS COVER STORY

FEATURE

The New NAFL Board on rising up to the challenge of the new year.

What is the NAFL Training Institute’s Most Popular Course?

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FEATURE What are the new NAFL board members cooking up for the organization? Check out what they have to say.

FEATURE The NAFL’s challenge and promise to young and aspiring logistics professionals.

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FEATURE 2011, the year that was. Let us review what has gone before and how we can use its lessons in the coming years. PAGE 12

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For comments and suggestions, please email mediadesk@nafl.ae


The new NAFL Executive Board. From left: Ahmed Alrais (Consolidated Shipping Services) ; Ibrahim Abu Zayed (Al Fadhil Cargo Clearing & Forwarding); Abdulla Yacoubi (E-Freight International); Ashok Ahuja (Inchcape Shipping Services); President David Phillips (Freight Systems Co. Ltd.); Treasurer Suman Chakrabarti (Al Rais Cargo Agencies); Sudesh Chaturvedi (GAC); Vice President Kevin Ennis (dnata); Secretary General Nadia Abdul Aziz (UNASCO) ; and Tom Nauwelaerts (Al-Futtaim Logistics).

The New NAFL Board

RISING UP TO THE CHALLENGE

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ith 20 years of experience, unity and cooperation under its belt, the National Association of Freight and Logistics, the official body that represents the United Arab Emirates’ freight forwarding community, is poised to take its 300 members to new heights with a new executive board at its helm.

Leading the board is NAFL President David Phillips of Freight Systems Co. Ltd. (LLC). Phillips, a Commerce graduate of the University of Mumbai, sees 2012 as an important milestone for NAFL and an opportunity to showcase the organization’s achievements in the field of freight and logistics in the Arabian Gulf. “The year 2012 is an important milestone for NAFL. Our teen years are behind us; we are 20 years old. This is a milestone that needs recognition, both in terms of longevity and the people behind this successful milestone,” said Phillips in a statement.

Phillips said the new executive board, elected in October 2011, would bring fresh ideas and a new determination in executing agreed plans and initiatives in the coming year. New Board, New Direction NAFL Secretary General Nadia Abdul Aziz, who represents Union National Air, Land & Sea Shipping Co. LLC (UNASCO), shares Phillips’ view, pointing out that new and existing board members are active and want to bring an enhanced positive change to the NAFL and its members. “Our previous members built

a good solid base and we all are here to go further ahead. The sky is the limit to what we can achieve,” she said. Suman Chakrabarti, NAFL Treasurer and representative of Al Rais Cargo Agencies in the organization, mirrors Abdul Aziz’s observation of the new board, saying the group feels “extremely positive from the word go.” “New views and ideas have been exchanged, with definitive plans to achieve them. I am sure this board would achieve few milestones, which we all would be proud of,” he said. Some of these new goals include increasing interactions among members through open forums, Abdul Aziz said, adding that the board would actively court the support of the government and semi-government organizations in the NAFL’s endeavors. “We all believe in giving back to society, and what we organize 1


COVER STORY: NEW BOARD RISING UP TO THE CHALLENGE

usually supports that. Believing in work ethics is one of our core beliefs that we work on, and that’s what will also make us grow even further,” she said. Phillips supports this belief, saying the new board is aware that the “NAFL has a huge role to play in ensuring the organization is geared toward meeting the challenges of the future and ensuring the UAE continues to occupy its enviable position as a competitive and efficient ‘Global Hub.’ “ To help achieve these goals, NAFL Vice President Kevin Ennis, who represents dnata, said the new board would be more proactive. “We need to focus on our deliverables and ensure we deliver the same. Our new statutes will make sure we have a proactive management and all of us on the board will be judged by the quality of our deliverables,” he said. Stronger Ties, More Members Two of the most important plans of the new board for the

NAFL are strengthening ties among existing members and increasing its membership base. At present, majority of NAFL members are based in Dubai. Phillips said the organization would

Our previous members built a good solid base and we all are here to go further ahead. The sky is the limit to what we can achieve

entice freight forwarders from other emirates. “While our membership is heavily weighted in favor of Dubai-based operators, we are aggressively pursuing membership from the other Emirates,” Phillips

said. Ennis revealed that accrediting operators from other Emirates is one of the main focus areas of the new board. The other focus areas are training, networking with authorities, and resolving the concerns of members. “There are unfinished initiatives from the previous board, including the building of a stronger rapport and an air of cooperation among members. Additionally, there are a lot of new thoughts and ideas that we need to implement going forward,” Ennis said. While promoting better cooperation among members and enticing freight forwarders from other Emirates are top priorities for the new board, they are not the only plans for the NAFL. “We aim to take the freight and logistics center stage not only in the UAE and Middle East but also the world. The Emirates is undoubtedly one if not the most important trade hub in the region. We want it recognized as an important freight and logistics hub as well,” Phillips said.

Left: Issa Baluch, former president of the National Association of Freight and Logistics, gives a speech at the NAFL General Elections 2011. Above: Representatives of NAFL member organizations are all smiles as they cast their votes to elect the executive board.

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COVER STORY: NEW BOARD RISING UP TO THE CHALLENGE

At the 2011 General Elections of the National Association of Freight and Logistics, representatives of member organizations and companies not only voted for their bets to the executive board but also discussed important matters such as continuing plans of the previous board, the revamping of courses at the NAFL Training Institute, and the acceptance of new members from other Emirates.

Learning From One Another Training is also an important thrust of the new NAFL board, and Phillips reveals that they are planning to take the organization’s training initiative to the next level. “The NAFL offers, through its Training Institute, various modules of training aligned with the FIATA program. The institute has been very successful, and we want to further enhance its capabilities,” Phillips said. How will the new board enhance the capabilities of a training institute that is already operating so well? “We hope to have a dedicated

team focused on the training needs of our members. Part of this initiative of boosting training efforts is building an efficient faculty of trainers, and we hope to draw these from within the industry,” Phillips explained. Ennis shares Phillips’ vision, saying the new board sees training as one of the best ways to achieve the goal of strengthening the NAFL. “The board’s agenda would be to ensure our members have the best training facilities and networking abilities with the authorities in deciding the best way forward for the industry in the UAE in particular and the Middle East in general,” he said. J

Our new statutes will make sure we have a proactive management and all of us on the board will be judged by the quality of our deliverables

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ON A MISSION

hese people are out to prove why the United Arab Emirates, through the National Association of Freight and Logistics, is ready to take its spot as a global trade hub. David Phillips, president This commerce graduate from the University of Mumbai who now heads Freight Systems Co. Ltd. plans to connect industry stakeholders and strengthen their relationships to ensure the UAE stays ahead not only as a regional hub but a “Global Hub.” “The UAE has been and continues to be at the forefront of the logistics and freight activity in the region. The NAFL thus has a huge role to play in ensuring that our organization is geared to meet challenges and ensure that the UAE continues to occupy its enviable position as a competitive and efficient Global Hub.”

Kevin Ennis, vice president

Suman Chakrabarti, treasurer

This 17-year UAE resident from dnata wants the NAFL to be recognized as the premier institution for freight forwarding and logistics in the Middle East.

This certified management accountant from Al Rais Cargo Agencies LLC vows to deploy the financial resources of the NAFL to the best of use and of benefit to the association and the industry.

“I want to ensure that our members have the best training facilities and open and clear avenues of communication with authorities in deciding the best way forward for the industry in the UAE in particular and the Middle East in general. We have to ensure the NAFL is an institution that can be looked up to by our peers in the industry.”

Abdulla Yacoubi, board member This 34-year veteran of the airfreight, shipping and logistics company who now sits at the helm of E-freight International LLC, aims to share his rich experience in various freight and logistics fields with NAFL members. 4

“We must keep a positive outlook and implement definitive plans for the association to grow. I am sure that with the support of members, the new NAFL board will reach milestones that everyone can be proud of.” “I have been involved in establishing strategic partnerships and joint ventures with local and international customers before, and establishing and maintaining good relations with government and customs authorities.”


Nadia Abdul Aziz, secretary general This able marketing and communications expert from UNASCO aims to enhance the NAFL as an association on a national and international scale by offering best support, service and training to all its members. “My plan is consistent and requires a lot of listening and coordination. One of the things I will focus on is meeting with members in our forums and look into their problems, and try my best along with our board members to solve and bring their problems to the right authorities.”

Tom Nauwelaerts, board member

Ahmed Alrais, board member

This freight forwarding and logistics expert from Al-Futtaim Logistics likes to focus on developing the UAE as a Logistics hub for the Middle East.

This operations and warehousing expert from Consolidated Shipping Service LLC has much to share with other members of the NAFL.

“The NAFL shall build closer relations with government bodies regarding regulations of the business and bridges between the respective trade associations to make sure there is more unity when communicating with government institutions regarding logistics trade.”

“I aim to actively participate in all NAFL activities and guide members in exploring their success in business strategies and share my experience and expertise with other members of the NAFL.”

Ashok Ahuja, board member

Ibrahim Abu Zayed, board member

This sales and marketing guru from Inchcape Shipping Services Ltd. looks to technology as a way to manage information and provide visibility to customers.

This former NAFL Land Transport Committee member from Al Fadhil Cargo Clearing and Forwarding Co. brings his long experience to the NAFL.

“I visualize the NAFL as a regulatory body empowered to drive the logistics industry to new heights to face the daunting challenges of globalization, digitalization of information and new technology with a clear emphasis on quality training.”

“I aim to use my knowledge and experience to contribute to the development of the land transport and freight forwarding rules and regulations and business ethics within the industry in Dubai and the UAE.”

Sudesh Chaturvedi, board member This 19-year logistics expert is a member of the Executive Committee and Secretary of Finance at the Institute of Chartered Shipbrokers UK’s Dubai Chapter.

“I would like to connect NAFL to the grassroots of our industry, our colleagues at the front desks. They are our ambassadors, our first point of contact with our most valued resource, the Customer.” 5


FEATURE STORY: THE NAFL TRAINING INSTITUTE

REVITALIZING THE NAFL TRAINING INSTITUTE To Meet Tomorrow’s Challenges

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raining forms the backbone of any service-oriented organization, and the National Association of Freight and Logistics, the official body that represents the United Arab Emirates’ freight forwarding community in the globally recognized International Federation of Freight Forwarders Associations, is no different, and is, in fact, doing it better. In 1995, then NAFL president Issa Baluch paved the way for the establishment of the NAFL Training Institute, which was envisioned to help member freight forwarding and logistics companies increase their productivity and aid their representatives grow as professionals. With courses ranging from the basics like Introduction to Freight Forwarding and the different transport modes for freight, the NAFL Training Institute sets itself

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apart from universities offering the same courses by offering what established professionals truly need: practical exercises and applications instead of mere classroom lectures. The NAFL Training Institute has been successful so far, with more than 15 years of training experience and excellence under its belt, but recent developments in the freight forwarding and logistics industry are set to push it in a new direction, with the help of the

new executive board, of course. Industry Challenges In a commentary on Dubai Trade portal, Baluch identified the issue on cargo security as the topmost concern in Dubai and the United Arab Emirates’ bid to become a leading international logistics hub. “This is a pressing concern, especially as the country positions itself to be an international multi-modal logistics platform,” Baluch said. “As screening of cargo becomes more stringent, the challenge for officiating bodies in the country is to strike a balance between addressing the need for cargo security while permitting international trade and commerce


FEATURE STORY: THE NAFL TRAINING INSTITUTE

to thrive.” within the industry,” he said. This concern is not lost on Leading the charge in revitalthe new NAFL executive board izing the NAFL Training Institute comprised mainly of David is Charles Edwards, chairman Phillips (Freight Systems), presiof Freight Reach Services, who dent, Kevin Ennis (Dnata), vice agrees with the board on the need president, Nadia Abdul Aziz to empower the institute to face (UNASCO), secretary general, new challenges. and Suman Chakra“The dramatic barti (Al Rais Cargo change in the world’s Agencies), treasurer. economy, post the We aim In fact, the board 2008 crash, the shifthas launched a new ing of the center of to make the initiative that aims to economic power NAFL Training strengthen the NAFL from the United Institute Training Institute to States and Europe meet the challenges to Asia, the rapid better. facing the industry. economic growth “The Training Inthroughout South stitute has been very America, Asia and successful. But we aim to make it Sub-Saharan Africa are creatbetter. Plans are underway to take ing a new environment in which the NAFL’s training initiative to NAFL members need to be ready the next level,” Phillips said. to respond to,” Edwards said in an One of these plans, Phillips interview with NAFL News. revealed, is the creation of a dedi“These and other changes mean cated team of industry experts that the NAFL members must be trained will focus on the training needs of not only in how they do their world, NAFL member companies. but more importantly in how to “Part of this initiative is buildrespond to change. Responding to ing an efficient bank of trainers, these changes and challenges reand we hope to draw these from quires a well-trained team that have

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FEATURE STORY: THE NAFL TRAINING INSTITUTE

the expertise and the confidence to develop new systems and services to meet the new demands from their customers,” he added. Moving Forward How exactly will the Training Institute be revitalized and equipped to respond to challenges and other concerns? In the same interview, Edwards revealed plans to expand the NAFL Training Institute curriculum. While nothing was concrete yet, he said they were considering adding courses like team building, leadership, market analysis and personnel management. Abdul Aziz airs the same sentiment in her plans for the NAFL, saying it will be best for the training institute to enhance all training programs and certification.

“We should also offer a wider variety of courses that NAFL members require. In line with this, we should offer the best time slots for our members and their representatives,” she said. The NAFL Training Institute already boasts a good lineup of courses for its members. Edwards pointed out that the primary NAFL training program provided a solid foundation of freight forwarders and logistics experts, and NAFL member companies would do well to send their managers and staff members to finish the program. “There are not many FIATA diploma-holding managers and staff among NAFL members. That situation needs to be addressed in a timely fashion,” Edwards said. “By completing the entire program, the students and their

employers will benefit and then their customers, the suppliers of services, such as airlines, steamship companies, trucking companies, and regulatory agencies will all benefit,” he added. This does not mean that the Training Institute is perfect, Edwards said, explaining that it needs to be revitalized by creating a structure to guide and manage courses, providing support to the current faculty, bringing in new instructors, and actively marketing the program to NAFL members and their employees. “These and other tasks will not be accomplished overnight, but the efforts should begin as soon as practicable. Within five years, there is no reason why the NAFL training program should not be the preeminent program in the Middle East,” Edwards said. J

Dangerous Goods Regulation

NAFL-TI’s Most Popular Course

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ithout a doubt training is an integral part in an industry as dynamic as freight forwarding and logistics. In the United Arab Emirates, the National Association of Freight and Logistics Training Institute is the best recourse in keeping abreast of developments in the industry. The NAFL Training Institute offers a wide array of courses, ranging from the basic Introduction to Freight Forwarding to something more advanced like Logistics and Warehousing. These courses have, since the inception of the Training Institute in 1995, helped logistics practitioners grow as professionals and, in turn, increase their company's productivity. One of the most popular courses at the NAFL Training Institute is the one T S Radhakrishnan of

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dnata facilitates: Dangerous Goods Regulation. "The popularity of the course gives me much professional and personal satisfaction," Radhakrishnan said when asked how he felt about his course being the most popular at the NAFL Training Institute. Radhakrishnan started teaching at the NAFL Training Institute in 2006, when he was introduced to Leonard Thygarajan, cargo service manager of dnata. Prior to joining the institute, he was conducting training at the Emirates Aviation College. "I welcomed the opportunity to offer my services and become a faculty member of the NAFL Training Institute," he said, adding that his experience as a trainer at the institute has been great. "I have a passion for teaching and I am happy to impart the knowledge I have gained through my experience. It's also great that the participants are al-


FEATURE STORY: DANGEROUS GOODS REGULATION

The many expressions of T S Radhakrishnan, who facilitates the Dangerous Goods Regulation module at the NAFL Training Institute, come out during one of his twice-a-week class.

ways highly motivated, as what they learn in the course immediately influences their everyday work," Radhakrishnan said. What makes Dangerous Goods Regulation a popular course and how important is it to the industry? Radhakrishnan explained that Dangerous Goods Regulation, or DGR, was becoming more and more important because the volume of dangerous goods being moved around the world was increasing and the demand for these special commodities was rising. "Handling these dangerous goods requires specialist skills and knowledge because transporting them by air is highly regulated. There are a lot of restrictions placed by both air operators and the state on such shipments," Radhakrishnan said. "In the UAE, for example, the General Civil Aviation Authority regulates the movement of dangerous goods and keeps a watchful eye on the various complexities of transporting these types of cargo by air," he added. Radhakrishnan singled out freight forwarders' desire to take advantage of the surge in transporting dangerous commodities as the reason behind the high demand for the course. The GCAA recognizes and certifies the Dangerous Goods Regulation course. Radhakrishnan said shippers of dangerous goods and freight forwarders considering handling dangerous goods should take the course. "Taking it is a must for freight forwarders in the UAE," he said. Although Dangerous Goods Regulation is offered at various institutions in the UAE, Radhakrishnan said the NAFL Training Institute had an edge: the schedule of the course. "Classes run from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. twice a week. This way, participants can attend to their routine office work during the day and then have the opportunity to enhance their knowledge in the evening," he explained. J 9


FEATURE STORY: UAE FREIGHT AND LOGISTICS AWARD FOR THE YOUNG PROFESSIONAL

NAFL Recognizes Contributions of Young Professionals

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n an industry as robust and ever-changing as freight forwarding and logistics, it takes experience and business acumen to keep things going. But it takes passion and enthusiasm to push innovations that in turn help the industry to move forward into the future. This is where young professionals in the freight and logistics industry of the United Arab Emirates come in. They are the lifeblood that fuels the heart of the industry under the guidance of industry heads and executives. To recognize the contribution of young professionals to the industry, the National Association of Freight and Logistics introduced in early 2011 the United Arab Emirates Freight and Logistics Award for the Young Professional. The first awardee, Niranjan Venkatesh, of Dubai-based NAFL member company Transworld Logistics, is a shining example of what young professionals contribute to the freight and logistics industry and how they motivate others to express their passion for their chosen profession. Venkatesh’s winning dissertation, entitled “Macro and Micro Level Analysis of the State of Freight Forwarding Industry in the United Arab Emirates” not only placed him in the spotlight for grabbing the first UAE Freight and Logistics Award for the Young Professional, but also gave him the chance to take center stage at

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The National Association of Freight and Logistics current and past presidents confer the 2011 United Arab Emirates Freight and Logistics Award for the Young Professional on Niranjan Venkatesh for his contributions to the industry.

the prestigious Young International Freight Forwarders Award (YIFFA). The YIFFA is an annual event organized by three groups: the International Federation of Freight Forwarders Association (FIATA), the International Air Transport Association (IATA), and the TT Club. “It was the proudest moment of my life. I was deeply touched and honored. I would like to express my gratitude to the NAFL for giving young logistics practitioners like myself with this opportunity. Logistics is my chosen profession and passion -- the NAFL and my employers at Transworld Logistics have been a huge part in this

development of my career,” Venkatesh said. Young Achiever The UAE Freight and Logistics Award for the Young Professional is not Venkatesh’s first award, though. He already showed his passion for work and excellence while studying Industrial Engineering at Purdue University in the United States when he received the top prize in the prestigious Burton D Morgan Business Plan Competition. Venkatesh’s ticket to the award was an app store that allowed users to trade music plug-ins. This passion for music later pushed


FEATURE STORY: UAE FREIGHT AND LOGISTICS AWARD FOR THE YOUNG PROFESSIONAL

him to become a member of the Malhaar, the first Indian Choir Group in the United Arab Emirates. At present, Venkatesh is an assistant manager for business development at Transworld Logistics, where he helps provide third party logistics solutions to highend fashion labels from all over the world. “My job involves networking with traders from all walks of life; but I have a keen and specific interest in fashion retailers because my expertise includes providing end-to-end logistics and freight forwarding solutions to people involved in this field,” Venkatesh said in an earlier interview. It was this passion for the industry that convinced the 24-yearold Venkatesh to vie for the UAE Freight and Logistics Award for the Young Professional. He said he was hoping to get only the UAE award. Venkatesh got the surprise of his life when he not only won the award but went

on to bag another award: representative for the Middle East and Africa to the Young International Freight Forwarders Award. The Award After receiving word that Venkatesh’s dissertation was selected as the best piece among contenders in the Middle East and African region for the YIFFA, then NAFL president Issa Baluch released a statement on behalf of the association: “This is good news for the local freight forwarding industry. To have the UAE represented at the YIFFA is a big achievement not only for Niranjan, but also for the NAFL, which has been encouraging local logistics professionals to take part in international competitions such as the YIFFA.” Baluch credited Venkatesh’s success partially to the NAFL and its members for the hard work they had put into enhancing the United Arab Emirates’ freight

Other NAFL officers pose with Niranjan Venkatesh, the first recipient of the UAE Freight and Logistics Award for the Young Professional.

and logistics industry, primarily through the NAFL Training Institute. “The NAFL Training Institute offers courses that are validated by the FIATA and taught by qualified instructors from the freight forwarding and logistics field. Enrollment in these courses expands participants’ knowledge of the field, equips them with the right skills, and allows them to adopt industry best practices in their own companies,” Baluch said in the statement. The Future Venkatesh is set to take two modules at the NAFL Training Institute this year: Air Freight and Sea Freight. He says he also plans to take up more modules in the coming years. Venkatesh admits that he is a better professional now after participating in the awards and industry conferences. “I have learned to think more professionally and look at the industry through the eyes of experts in the NAFL who have become my mentors. Thanks to these people, I have a clearer picture of what I want to become,” he said. “I want to stay in the freight forwarding and logistics industry. I feel this industry of ours is one of the major drivers of economy, particularly in the United Arab Emirates,” Venkatesh added. He said he would like to encourage other young professionals to join the annual UAE Freight and Logistics Award for the Young Professional and show the world at the Young International Freight Forwarders Award what the industry in the UAE could do. J 11


FEATURE STORY: LOOKING BACK AT 2011

2011

A YEAR OF PARTNERSHIPS AND COOPERATION

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he year 2011 may be over and plans for 2012 are already underway, but reflection is just as important as preparation as members of the National Association of Freight and Logistics know. The previous year saw some of the most important milestones in the history of the NAFL, its president, David Phillips said. “These milestones focus mainly on the success of NAFL’s Open Forums and the establishment of closer ties with government, two very important events that I am proud to witness first as board member and treasurer, and then as president,” Phillips said. “As we look forward to the future of the NAFL and the freight forwarding and logistics industry in the United Arab Emirates, so too do we look back at our organization’s greatest triumphs in 2011,” he added. Open Forums

Phillips credits the strengthening of ties between the NAFL and the local government and 12

other organizations largely to the success of the Open Forums. The NAFL Open Forums were established primarily as a venue where members can interact with relevant government agencies, while the organization’s officers can address pressing issues and other agenda. It is in one of these open forums where the alliance between the NAFL and Dubai Trade--an innovative, simple and secure portal that combines all electronic services provided by some of Dubai’s top trade, freight forwarding and logistics industry stakeholders--was discussed and consequently formed. “The recent global economic crisis prompted mergers, affiliations, and alliances among companies and organizations, which ultimately signifies the need to work together,” said Mahmood Al Bastaki, director of Dubai Trade, in an interview right after the Open Forum where the alliance was discussed.


FEATURE STORY: LOOKING BACK AT 2011

“To synergize with organizations such as the NAFL is one step to promote teamwork among various entities that will lead to advancement in the freight and logistics industries,” he added. Phillips was among those who finalized the agreement with Dubai Trade, being the then sub-committee chairman for Information Technology of the NAFL. Alliances Phillips said the alliance between NAFL and Dubai Trade was a good one, pointing out that it was in line Friendship and cooperation were the common thrusts of NAFL members in 2011. One of the organization’s strongest partnerships, with Dubai Trade, was forged last year.

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FEATURE STORY: LOOKING BACK AT 2011

with one of the organization’s mission statements -- that of facilitating programs and activities that support local government initiatives and policies relating to the regulation and development of the freight forwarding industry. “We are honored to have signed an alliance with Dubai Trade. The NAFL has almost 300 members and they will definitely benefit from this auspicious partnership,” Ashok Thomas, then the secretary general of the NAFL and one of the Advisory Council at present, said of the partnership. “Hopefully, this will pave the

way for more collaborative efforts among the industry players that would support local and international initiatives and policies, especially with regard to the regulation and development of the freight forwarding and logistics industry,” he added. Beyond Dubai A major thrust of the NAFL that began in 2011 was the strengthening of cooperation among existing members and extending memberships to freight forwarders and logistics organizations in other Emirates like Abu Dhabi and

Dubai Trade and NAFL officials pose for the camera.

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Sharjah. “It is our goal to continue seeking partnerships that will be beneficial to the NAFL, the local governments, and the stakeholders of the freight and logistics industry in the United Arab Emirates,” Phillips said. At present, majority of NAFL member companies and professionals are based in Dubai. This is one reason why the new board, elected in October 2011, is planning to aggressively secure membership of companies and professionals in other Emirates, particularly Sharjah and Abu Dhabi, which have robust freight forwarding and logistics industries. J


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