Jebel Ali Free Zone (Jafza), the leading business and logistics hub, has recently recorded 10.6% growth in the retail and e-commerce sector with a total trade value of AED 37.6 Billion despite the sudden challenges facing both regional and global economy in recent times.
More than 1000 companies from 96 countries play a pivotal role in Jafza's Retail and General Trading sector, with the free zone's unparalleled infrastructure making it the ideal location for companies to set up and operate. Approximately 39% of these companies derive from the Middle East, 30% from Asia, 15% from Europe, 9% from North America, 7% from Africa and 1% from Oceania. In total, they employ more than 10,000 personnel and operate across combined facilities that is almost two million square metres.
Although the region has seen a decline in business activity, the shift in technology has introduced a new market segment for consumers. The UAE's Retail community can count on Jafza to support their end-to-end logistics needs through its digital innovations. Bringing together components needed to create a true multimodal logistics connectivity underscores Dubai’s long-term commitment to facilitating the growth and development of regional and global commerce. 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 & Managing Director, DP World, UAE Region and CEO of Jafza, said: “The e-commerce business sector was issued the highest number of licenses in the UAE, during May 2020. The first five months of the year saw a 300 per cent increase in consumer demand for e-commerce services. It’s quite clear consumers have discovered a new way of purchasing, as data shows the amount spent online has increased and we are here to leverage this behavioural trend.”
Al Muallem clarified, “The recent pandemic has caused a shift in consumer buying habits, a behavior 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 at Jafza, are working closely with these retailers to help transfer their stores into online platforms. Moving on, further studies need to be done in order 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 foresee greater importance on technology-enabled solutions as well ensuring safety across the supply chain. The rebound may take some time, but while waiting out, necessary enhancement on the supply chain needs to be in place to earn back consumer confidence.”
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 licenses, making them dual business license owners.
Jafza recently announced the “Jafza Customer Support Initiative” with a 50%-70% reduction of registration, licensing and related administration functions fees in Jafza as well as for new investors. A range of online services are offered free of cost as a direct result of Jafza’s 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 has been able to continue to support its many retail and general trade clients during this time of unprecedented challenge; taking action to ensure that companies receive the services they require to get through the COVID-19 crisis, allowing them to maintain operations and normalcy for their own customers.