“NAU by DP World”, a digital marketplace and an aggregator of cargo ‘dhows’, traditional wooden vessels, has achieved a shipping volume of more than 255,000 tonnes in 2020, with 1,762 dhows registered in the application.
Launched officially in February 2020, NAU connects Dhow owners with traders allowing them to search, negotiate and book shipments. The platform represents a digital transformation of the traditional industry, effectively ushering in a new era of smart trade that DP World enables and promotes.
The app uses the latest AI technologies to connect traders with the boat captains.
This has increased the number of cargo operations through the application from 295 operations in October 2020 to 394 in November and 477 in December.
NAU has been a very useful tool in supporting cargo movement activity for traditional dhows on Dubai creek. From 2009 to 2018, Dubai’s external trade through Dubai Creek made AED122b, and the volume of shipments reached 10.564 million tonnes. Goods included textiles, phones, air conditioners, electric appliances and foodstuff.
Dhow Captains (locally called ‘Naukhda’) now have the facility to view business requests from traders that match their planned trade routes and available Dhow space. Accordingly, the app helps Naukhdas to effectively plan their trips, optimise efficiency in Dhow space utilisation and ultimately generate higher revenues. Traders, on the other hand, can search for availability of cargo dhows in Dubai, based on their requirements. If dhows are not readily available at the time of their search, traders can post a request.
Mohammed Al Muallem
Ahmed Mahboob Musabih, Director General of Dubai Customs, said: “Our efforts integrate with the DP World’s efforts and all the entities under the umbrella of the Ports, Customs and Free Zone Corporation (PCFC) to help develop this important sector. We provide outstanding services and facilities to ensure quicker and more streamlined dhow trade.” Musabih added that Creek Customs and Deira Wharfage Centers dealt with around 18,000 vessels in 2019 compared to 15,603 in 2018, marking a 15.3% growth.
Mahmood AlBastaki, Chief Operating Officer – Dubai Trade World, said: “The response we have received from dhow owners and traders on the use of the NAU platform has been extremely encouraging, particularly with dhow entry requests and dhow booking. Moving these processes online has brought with it a host of advantages for dhow trade through the creek, saving time and increasing efficiency”.
Mahmood Mohammed Amin, Chief Executive Officer, Marine Agency for Wooden Dhows, PCFC said: “PCFC continues to provide smart and outstanding services to dhow owners and traders. The Shipping Agent Office plays an important role in organising operations and processes for these vessels during their stay in the emirate’s waters. Dubai is a major hub for traditional vessels coming from different countries in the Middle East and North Africa.”
Nau enables traders through Dubai to efficiently search and book dhows to ship their cargoes. The application, which is available in different languages including Arabic and English, is compatible with IOS and Android operating systems. Dhow Owners and traders can utilise the easy-to-use mobile apps (NAU By DP World) for smart phones, or the powerful web platform www.nau.dpworld.com. There is a two-sided rating system allowing both Dhow-owners and traders to rate each other and demonstrate credibility.