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How does AD Ports Group drive growth in business through innovation?
Over the last decade, Abu Dhabi Ports Group’s efforts to evolve the UAE’s trade, logistics, and industrial landscape have culminated in an exciting phase as we pave the way for a new era of digital transformation that sees us introducing innovative solutions for all stakeholders and consumers involved.
As the digital arm of AD Ports Group, Maqta Gateway is the central pillar of this strategy. Our team has developed and operates the first Port Community System in the UAE called Maqta PCS (mPCS), which also led to the launch of the Advanced Trade and Logistics Platform (ATLP). Managed by Maqta Gateway under the supervision of the Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development, ATLP serves as Abu Dhabi’s single window for service requisition and fulfilment to all economic operators and government agencies via sea, air, land, industrial and freezones.
With over 700 services and unified payment solutions and integrated with 40 government entities across the entire value chain, ATLP is enabling its users to facilitate their supply chain and trade requirements, as well as better manage their resources.
Since our establishment in 2016, we have efficiently processed more than 51 million transactions related to marine shipments, with full traceability.
We believe that innovation must always serve the greater good which is why, in response to the global challenge of Covid-19 immunisation, we pooled our capabilities through an Abu Dhabi-based public-private partnership, known as the Hope Consortium, which is focused on delivering millions of Covid-19 vaccines globally.
What new innovations have been implemented to ensure AD Ports Group’ sustained growth?
It is important to us that we ease customer processes at AD Ports Group by building innovative digital solutions that prioritise efficiency and effectiveness. Having achieved complete digitalisation of ports operations and sea-side logistics in 2017, we are in a position to offer a range of services, solutions, and ultra-modern infrastructure to facilitate international trade.
Take for example, Khalifa Port, the first semi-automated container port in the GCC region. In addition to the past additions of 42 automated stacking cranes at the maritime facility, Khalifa Port’s CSP Abu Dhabi container terminal, the first greenfield project of Cosco Shipping Ports Limited (CSP), recently became the first terminal in the region to trial and adopt an autonomous port truck system.
Consisting of a total of six electric Qomolo Q-Trucks, the automated trucks, which feature 360-degree sensory system with traffic monitoring and driving guidance, have been tasked with supporting mother vessel loading and unloading activities within the facility’s container yard. They have a maximum load capacity of 80 tonnes and an operating range of 200km.
The past few years also saw the launch of several new additions to our digital service portfolio, including a marine management app called Marsa.
Accessible on both mobile devices and through a web portal, Marsa enables port operators to better manage marine traffic and services of vessels calling at AD Ports Group’s maritime facilities. Utilised primarily by Safeen and the Harbour Master at AD Ports, the app covers the vessel registration and vessel call processes, providing clear visibility of marine traffic and enabling the organisation to better coordinate operations and resources.
In 2019, we unveiled the Marsad platform, a solution that collects data related to vessel scale, cargo type and capacity. This information is then blended with infrastructure and dynamic data sets associated with the global movement of vessel cargo, which provides AD Ports Group with actionable insights to align its commercial strategy alongside macro-economic trends.
Other innovations include Margo, a digital marketplace for cargo clearance and delivery solutions. Margo provides a complete range of services including air and sea freight, warehousing, truck booking, express parcel delivery, and last-mile delivery, all through a single-window platform.
Last year, AD Ports Group launched the blockchain platform. How do you see the growth of this technology in the UAE?
As a founding member of the Hope Consortium, Maqta Gateway is employing mUnity, a custom-built digital solution, that tracks and traces the journey of Covid-19 vaccines through the consortium’s supply chain.
mUnity is our proprietary custom-built digital solution built upon the tried and tested digital technology that we originally developed for managing marine shipments and port communities. It uses blockchain technology to track and trace Covid-19 vaccine sourcing, storage, shipment, and all related data in real-time along every step of the vaccine journey.
The system features end-to-end visibility of every vaccine, starting from the manufacturing facility, to when they arrive at vaccination centres in the UAE and other destinations worldwide. mUnity also has the ability to adapt to multiple journeys, different vaccine characteristics, and specific stakeholder requirements.
Where do you see the role of blockchain in addressing the challenges of the complex supply chain of vaccines?
The race to achieve global immunisation against Covid-19 represents the largest healthcare and logistics challenge of our lifetime. Through the Hope Consortium, we have deployed the technology, science, and partnerships needed to handle over 100 million vaccine doses and counting, across 40 countries around the world. But with most of the world still waiting to be fully vaccinated, we recognise that our work is not yet done. As we face the task at hand, we cannot overstate the significance of blockchain and IoT in ensuring a smooth vaccine supply chain.
The journey of Covid-19 vaccines, from manufacturers to end users, involves managing safety risks at every stage. Shippers, airlines, and storage facilities all use data in different ways and various formats. The import and export of pharmaceuticals is strictly regulated and carefully controlled, and the rules and requirements vary according to the source and recipient country. Covid-19 vaccines are temperature-sensitive and have precise handling and storage requirements; failure to comply can render them ineffective. Furthermore, there is a very real threat of nefarious actors seeking to profit from the disruption of vaccine supply chains, whether from hacking attempts, counterfeit vaccines or theft of data and supplies.
Blockchain can help us address all of these risks by providing real-time updates on all the storage and handling environment parameters along the supply chain, including vaccine storage levels, temperature controls, stock levels, and quantities of ancillary supplies. Each transaction in the supply chain is documented on the blockchain, with security and privacy built into the system from within. This unalterable chain of data helps prevent the development of counterfeit shipments from hacked data and pinpoints any incidences of tampering during shipment.