AD Ports Group, Uzbekistan’s SEG to develop logistics, freight and food trading infrastructure

AD Ports Group, Uzbekistan’s SEG to develop logistics, freight and food trading infrastructure

WAM: AD Ports Group has announced the launch of a joint venture with SEG, one of the largest oil and gas companies in Uzbekistan, to open new logistics and freight businesses and signed a Memorandum of Understanding to develop a food trading hub in Uzbekistan.

At a signing ceremony in Tashkent, the two companies signed the key agreements to support the collaboration, which aims to develop logistics infrastructure and services that will enable Uzbek and SEG’s refined products to reach global markets at competitive costs.

The ceremony attendees from the UAE included Dr. Thani bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi, Minister of State for Foreign Trade; Mohamed Ali Al Shorafa, Chairman of the Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development (ADDED); Dr. Saeed Matar Al Qemzi, UAE Ambassador to Uzbekistan; Captain Mohammed Juma Al Shamisi, Managing Director and Group CEO AD Ports Group; Saeed Al-Bahri Salem Al-Ameri – Director General of Abu Dhabi Department of Agriculture and Food Safety; and Hamad Al Hammadi, Executive Director, Energy and Utilities at ADQ.

Attendees from Uzbekistan included Ilkhom Makhkamov, Minister of Transport of Uzbekistan; Aziz Voitov, First Deputy Minister of Investments and Foreign Trade of Uzbekistan; Sherzod Khodjayev, Deputy Minister of Energy of Uzbekistan; Kakhramon Yuldashev, Deputy Minister of Agriculture of Uzbekistan; and Bakhtiyor Fazilov, Chairman of the Board of SEG.

The signing ceremony saw the announcement of AD Ports Group’s office in Uzbekistan, the Group’s first in the Central Asia region. The office will oversee the projects announced within the agreements signed in Tashkent.

Under the joint venture agreement, the two companies will create a partnership for logistics and freight forwarding services, including intermodal freight forwarding, road, rail and air transport services, the development of inland ports and container depots, warehousing and other logistics infrastructure, contract logistics and customs clearance.

The venture will deploy new technology and specialised processes to address the challenges caused by Uzbekistan’s double-landlocked geographical location, surrounded by five additional landlocked nations.

A Memorandum of Understanding was also signed to support the development of an integrated food storage and distribution hub to enhance Uzbekistan’s food trade across global markets and drive Central Asian food security. Under the MoU, the two companies will collaborate on opportunities relating to food storage, transportation, and security and will explore related end-to-end solutions for the project.

Based upon the ‘Regional Food Hub – Abu Dhabi’ currently under development in KIZAD, AD Ports Group will share their expertise and provide best practice guidance toward the new project.

A session of talks was also held between the UAE and Uzbekistan sides to discuss strengthening aspects of economic cooperation, including new sectors that would contribute to increasing the volume of trade exchange between the two countries, in the presence of Dr. Thani Al Zeyoudi; Mohamed Al Shorafa; along with Uzbek Prime Minister Abdulla Aripov Republic of Uzbekistan and several ministers and officials.

The Regional Food Hub – Abu Dhabi will collaborate with Rungis International Market, the wholesale fresh food market, to bring buyers, sellers, logistics players, consolidators, and distributors together to expand access to fresh food and boost exports for Uzbekistan.

The hub is planned to be operated near Samarkand International Airport by a subsidiary of SEG – MARAKAND LOGAIR.

In a statement to the Emirates News Agency (WAM), Dr. Thani Al Zeyoudi said that the volume of trade exchange between the UAE and Uzbekistan has grown by 22% to reach $486 million during the past year.

He added that the AD Ports Group’s signing of two strategic agreements to establish logistics, freight and food trading infrastructure in Uzbekistan aligns with the wise leadership’s directives aimed at diversifying the country’s economic relations and working to find new markets for national products, in light of the continuous growth of trade exchange between the two friendly countries.

Al Zeyoudi pointed out that Uzbekistan is one of the important food exporting countries, especially to Asian countries and the Central Asia region. Through this strategic project, it will provide an opportunity to redirect a large part of the food products available in Uzbekistan to the UAE and the region.

He explained that through discussions with the Uzbek Prime Minister, it was agreed on a joint action plan for cooperation in the logistical lines to ensure that the current global challenges are overcome, in addition to reviewing ways to further develop cooperation in a number of other strategic sectors, including the financial sector and digitisation.

For his part, Falah Mohammed Al Ahbabi, Chairman of AD Ports Group, said, “This agreement will support the direction of our wise leadership and strengthen our strategic partnership with Uzbekistan. We are delighted to be able to deploy the expertise and resources of AD Ports Group to address the core logistics challenges and opportunities present within the country.

We believe that we will be able to contribute to unlocking the wider economic potential of the nation by building new supply chains and opening new trade routes. Our capacity to build one-stop economic hubs and logistics centres will be put to good use through the creation of a dedicated food hub, as well as the creation of inland ports and depots.”

Al Shamisi, in turn, said, “This is a major new agreement that will help transform trade and logistics for Uzbekistan, which has a fast-growing economy and rich natural resources. With our expertise, we will develop multi-modal transport connections that will bring goods to market faster and more efficiently.”

“Our strategic investment in infrastructure and capabilities will help support international companies by opening new points of entry into Central Asian markets and ensuring the highest levels of service and support. In line with the direction of the UAE’s leadership, we are positioning Abu Dhabi as a global leader in logistics and industry.”

Bakhtiyor Fazilov, Chairman of the Board of SEG, said, “This agreement will have significant impact on the economic progress of our nation, creating new jobs and new opportunities for trade and development. Through working with AD Ports Group, we will establish new trade corridors facilitated by advanced digital services and supported by world-class logistics facilities, including intermodal freight forwarding.”

“Uzbekistan is a major producer of key exports, including oil, natural gas and gold, as well as being the second-largest exporter of cotton in the world. Through these joint ventures, we will be able to bring a wider range of products to more markets worldwide, transforming our trade potential.”

The UAE and Uzbekistan signed a bilateral MoU to promote the exchange of knowledge, expertise and successful experiences in June 2022. The expanded strategic partnership with Uzbekistan covers 27 sectors, including the financial sector, education sector, economy, government leadership, food security and agriculture, ports and customs.