News, Software

Dubai turns to AI to bolster dhow trade

The Port, Customs and Free Zone Corporation, PCFC, has launched the Dhowber project to strengthen the UAE and Dubai’s leading global position in the maritime transport industry, and help shape the sector’s future.

The project will be led by DP World chairman and CEO, and PCFC chairman Sultan Ahmed bin Sulayem, who highlighted that the initiative will boost Dubai’s dhow trade competitiveness by applying new tools to organise cargo transport and take it to the next level.

Dhowber is a smart platform that will help in cargo activity reservation for traditional dhows on Dubai creek, he explained, adding that the platform will rely on artificial intelligence, AI, to provide a dynamic pricing engine based on demand, as well as auxiliary services such as insurance of goods.

The project is in line with PCFC’s Dubai 10X initiatiave.

Dhowber stands to benefit more than 1,500 dhows making around 13,000 trips annually, transporting around 2.2 million tons of cargo with a value of AED22 million.

The platform is scalable and can be replicated across the globe, especially in countries that have larger inland waterways, rivers, and harbours, to transport cargo from one port to another.

“The wise vision of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, always inspires and encourages us to be more innovative in fulfilling the Dubai 10X initiative, and to embrace disruptive innovation and find new, creative and truly disruptive approaches and technologies, creating projects that will help add value to the world,” bin Sulayem said.

The Dhowber app is a marketplace that brings together boat captains (nukdahs) and traders, who are looking to ship their cargo to nearby ports. Nukdahs can define the dhow route, display the boat capacity and connect with traders. Dhowber allows both nukdahs and traders to register, search, and inquire availability and book cargo shipments all from one user-friendly, easy-to-use mobile app. Payments are also handled via the app so that nukdahs can receive payments immediately.

Additionally, there is a two-sided rating system which allows both traders and nukdahs to rate each other. And finally, the traders can track their cargo from departure to arrival.

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