The Arab Academy for Science Technology and Maritime Transport branch in Sharjah (AASTS) collaborated with the UAE Ministry of Energy and Infrastructure following the signing of a strategic agreement last month. The two entities held a meeting recently to discuss areas of cooperation. In an effort to promote the growth of the maritime economy in the UAE and the region, the Academy aims to utilise their enhanced capabilities and the expertise of its staff.
Apart from this, AASTS hopes to utilise the power of technology, while also offering its research and development services to cement the UAE’s leading position as a global maritime hub. The two parties also emphasised on the urgent need to train the UAE’s local calibre to be competent industry professionals who will take the industry to newer heights.
Driving growth in the sector
Commenting on the collaboration with the Academy, H.E. Suhail AlMazrouei, The UAE Minister of Energy and Infrastructure, said: “The UAE has always been at the forefront in the global maritime industry. In the recently published annual Agility Emerging Markets Logistics Index, the UAE ranked No. 1 overall as the most competitive emerging GCC market and fourth globally. The Index evaluated 50 countries by factors that make them appealing to logistics providers, freight forwarders, shipping lines, air cargo carriers and distributors. The UAE’s achievement showcases our commitment to foster the development of the non-oil sectors. In this regard, the maritime sector has contributed greatly to the UAE’s economy. In fact, the maritime sector accounts for 30-35 percent of the total regional maritime sector investment.”
AlMazrouei added: “To continue this upward growth, it is essential to gain the support of key institutions, especially in the educational sector. Through our collaboration with AASTS, we are looking forward to shaping the minds of young Emirati talent in order to boost the economy. Additionally, in today’s competitive and fast-paced world, the role of technology is critical. We hope to utilize the capabilities of the Academy that will support us in terms of scientific research, consultancy and academic studies in the maritime sector.”
H.E. Dr. Ismail Abdel Ghaffar Ismail Farag, President of the Arab Academy for Science, Technology and Maritime Transport emphasized: “The Academy has received unlimited support from the UAE’s leadership to empower and develop the maritime sector, therefore making it one of the best maritime academies in the world. This has been evident since the establishment of the branch in Sharjah, which is the largest of all our branches and is comparable in size and capabilities to our headquarters in Alexandria. Through our collaboration with the Ministry of Energy and Infrastructure, we look forward to serving the UAE’s maritime sector by making use of the expertise of our staff, our state-of-the-art infrastructure and the competencies of our students. Since our inception, our primary goal has always been to create a thriving and prosperous maritime economy through our vast knowledge in the field.”
Keeping up with the times
With the rapid developments in the industry, it is essential to adopt technology to ease operations and maintain an efficient supply chain. The UAE has made great strides in this aspect. The country’s digital capabilities have helped them stay afloat despite the challenging market. To keep up with these changes, educating young students about the many benefits of technology and training them to employ technology-enabled solutions in the industry is the need of the hour.
Dr. Capt. Ahmed Youssef, Associate Dean, College of Maritime Transport and Technology, AASTS stated: “At AASTS, we strive to provide comprehensive education that will qualify aspiring maritime professionals to serve the maritime industry in the UAE and the Middle East. The education we provide is different from any other theoretical specializations provided to students around the world. We give preference to providing hands-on practical experiences to our students and are dedicating utmost priority to conducting research that will help to boost the country’s blue economy.Our association with the UAE Ministry of Energy and Infrastructure will help us in facilitating training for students of the Academy on board ships operating in the country. Additionally, we also hope to empower them about pioneering technologies including software solutions like blockchain, Internet of Things (IoT), cloud technology, automation and robotic solutions, AI, machine learning, and data science that are great tools. The use of such technologies will definitely help to optimize operations, benefiting the local and regional industry.”
AASTS has also been continually making efforts to further the women empowerment agenda of the UAE by ensuring gender equity in the classroom. The Academy is recognised for having the highest percentage of female students among maritime academies in the Middle East and North Africa. Enrolled female students account for more than 43 per cent of the total number of students.