Dubai rise in non-oil for­eign trade

Taxi app firms told to ac­cept reg­u­la­tions that al­low rid­ers to book pri­vate and pub­lic

7 Days in Dubai - - BUSINESS - @ThatPad­dyRyan pa­

By Pa­trick Ryan Pri­vate hire firms are be­ing urged to work with trans­port bosses in Dubai fol­low­ing the in­tro­duc­tion of new reg­u­la­tions for book­ing a taxi through apps.

That was the mes­sage from both the Roads and Trans­port Au­thor­ity (RTA) and Ca­reem, af­ter the firm signed up to the agree­ment that will al­low the pub­lic to call Dubai taxis through the app as well as Ca­reem’s own fleet.

“You have to be re­al­is­tic,” said Bas­sel Al Nahlaoui, Ca­reem Vice Pres­i­dent of Busi­ness and Gov­ern­ment Re­la­tions.

“Some com­pa­nies are com­par­ing it to a much larger area be­cause they op­er­ate in so many other coun­tries.

“We see value in this part­ner­ship, there is no way for­ward with­out col­lab­o­rat­ing with the RTA.”

Ca­reem spoke out af­ter sug­ges­tions that other pri­vate hire firms were un­happy about the in­clu­sion in the new reg­u­la­tions of a Dhs5 fee per fare to be paid by the op­er­a­tor to the RTA.

“There will be fees on both sides, that’s how a part­ner­ship works,” Al Nahlaoui said.

Firms have un­til March 2017 to sign up to the new agree­ment if they want to op­er­ate in Dubai. “It’s a sig­nif­i­cant mile­stone in our ef­forts to sup­ply and pro­vide for the peo­ple in this re­gion,” Al Nahlaoui said. “It’s im­por­tant to be in line with reg­u­la­tion.” A spokesper­son for fel­low pri­vate hire firm Uber sug­gested, though, the cur­rent price struc­ture is pre­vent­ing the firm from op­er­at­ing ser­vices avail­able in other coun­tries. “Ex­ist­ing reg­u­la­tions set by the RTA state that we price 30 per cent above RTA taxis,” the firm said in a state­ment. “This has pre­vented us from of­fer­ing the same level of ser­vice and so­lu­tions, such as car-shar­ing op­tions for rid­ers, in­clud­ing UberPOOL, as ex­pe­ri­enced by rid­ers across 450 other cities. “We have been in on­go­ing dis­cus­sions with the RTA for the last two years over how we can make Uber more ac­ces­si­ble to rid­ers; and how Dubai can ben­e­fit. “We be­lieve that any agree­ment signed must put the rid­ers’ in­ter­est first.”

An RTA spokesper­son said: “It’s an agree­ment that was made with ev­ery­one. Any com­pany that signs up with the RTA has to fol­low the reg­u­la­tions.” Dubai’s non-oil for­eign trade for the first half of 2016 stood at Dhs647 bil­lion, with the vol­ume of traded goods wit­ness­ing a 17 per cent rise. Dubai Cus­toms said that im­ports ac­counted for Dhs401 bil­lion, while ex­ports and re-ex­ports were val­ued at Dhs74 bil­lion and Dhs172 bil­lion re­spec­tively. With a high of 49 mil­lion tonnes of com­modi­ties traded dur­ing the pe­riod, up from 41 mil­lion for the same pe­riod the year be­fore, Dubai Cus­toms said the fig­ures show that Dubai is pro­gress­ing well in its plan to re­duce re­liance on oil rev­enues and move to­wards an econ­omy that de­pends on for­eign trade as well as other in­come sources. “To off­set the im­pact of the gen­eral slow­down in world econ­omy, lower com­mod­ity prices and the slump in oil prices, Dubai has wisely re­struc­tured and broad­ened its sources of rev­enue while tak­ing con­sid­er­able mea­sures to stim­u­late growth in the af­fected sec­tors,” said DP World Group Chair­man and CEO and Chair­man of Ports, Cus­toms and Free Zone Cor­po­ra­tion, Sul­tan Ahmed bin Su­layem.

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