Dubai Maritime Authority issues new directive designed to enhance transparency of local sea container charges

DUBAI, 1st May, 2023 (WAM) -- Dubai Maritime Authority (DMA), at the Ports, Customs, and Free Zone Corporation, the government authority responsible for regulating, coordinating, and supervising all aspects of Dubai’s maritime sector, has introduced Directive No. 1 of 2023 on Transparency of Local Sea Container Charges in Dubai.

The directive requires all service providers to declare their local sea container charges to the DMA through the secure Dubai Trade Single Window Portal.

In line with Law No. 3 of 2023 on Dubai Maritime Authority, issued by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, the DMA has been tasked with introducing new regulations that strengthen the sector and adopt global standards. Effective from 1st May, 2023, the new directive will provide the DMA with a clear data-led understanding of local sea container charges and associated practices.

The directive was developed in response to feedback generated by the DMA’s Partnership Programme, a stakeholder engagement programme introduced to help the Authority understand the needs of service providers and Beneficial Cargo Owners (BCOs) in the sector. The programme commenced in March with an event to introduce the DMA’s new mandate, followed by a series of interactive workshops and a market survey focusing on better understanding the sector’s needs. The procedures outlined in the directive are based on a study conducted by the DMA to determine international best practices as part of the Authority’s efforts to enhance transparency and agility, raise ease of doing business and enhance Dubai’s attractiveness as a maritime hub.

Sheikh Saeed bin Ahmed bin Khalifa Al Maktoum, Executive Director of Dubai Maritime Authority, said, “The maritime sector plays a significant role in enhancing Dubai’s business and economic value proposition. The DMA is committed to taking proactive measures to enhance the sector’s contribution to the emirate’s economy by growing sea trade, enhancing the infrastructure needed for the sector to flourish and driving growth in demand for ocean logistics in Dubai.”

“As custodians of the emirate’s maritime sector, we are keen to continuously develop the industry and enhance our partnership with the private sector,” Sheikh Saeed added. “The newly introduced directive is based on a thorough study we conducted as part of efforts to consolidate Dubai’s status as a global maritime hub, enhance the transparency and cost-visibility of local sea container charges, and ultimately boost the sector’s investment attractiveness. Introducing the directive will allow us to analyse data submitted by service providers and determine whether they reflect commercial best practices and fair competition, which we are tasked with promoting in Dubai’s maritime sector.”

The directive applies to all service providers providing local sea container services within, outside, or through any port in the emirate. This includes existing service providers who, as of the effective date, are already licenced by a licencing authority in Dubai, including the Department of Economy and Tourism, or special development zones and free zones, such as the Dubai International Financial Centre Authority, to provide sea container services. It also applies to new service providers, who will become licenced on or after the effective date. In this case, the directive applies to sea container charges that the provider intends to apply from the date that the provider becomes licenced to provide sea container services. Details of sea container charges should be submitted to the Authority under Article 5 (2) of the directive.

All existing service providers must submit a list of their existing local sea container charges to the Authority within 30 days of the directive’s effective date, while new service providers must submit a list of all their existing sea container charges within 30 days of first being licenced.

Dubai Maritime Authority’s Directive No. 1 on Transparency of Local Sea Container Charges in Dubai requires service providers to file all their local sea container charges online via the Dubai Trade Single Window Portal, in accordance with procedures and requirements within 30 days of the publication of the directive.

From the effective date of this directive, all service providers are prohibited from increasing their existing sea container charges in any way. For example, a service provider may increase its sea container charges strictly to reflect new or increased Authority, Port Operator or government charges, provided such an increase does not include any charges or amounts for their account. The freeze on service charges will apply until further notice.

Service Providers are required to upload all of their existing local sea container charges onto the Dubai Trade Single Window Portal, in addition to any other information or document that the DMA may require from time to time. To comply with Directive No. 1, service providers are required to declare all local charges using the sea container charges acronyms, codes, names, and descriptions. If any charges are not listed, the service providers must declare these using the additional ‘miscellaneous’ option provided within the portal.