Press releases

The prestigious annual event was held from 15-16 May 2024 at the Address Sky View Hotel, Dubai, UAE


Dubai, UAE, 24 May 2024 – With global and regional disruptions expected to continue and evolve, strategic value chain partnerships will be essential to ensure a resilient and sustainable future, agreed speakers at the 15th Gulf Petrochemicals and Chemicals Association (GPCA) Supply Chain Conference, which took place from 15-16 May 2024 at the Address Sky View Hotel, Dubai, UAE. Held under the theme “Harnessing Connectivity for a Sustainable Tomorrow”, the prestigious annual conference hosted 320 delegates from 114 companies in 17 countries, addressing some of the most crucial themes shaping GCC chemical supply chains.

Khalid Sultan Al-Kuwari, CEO, Q-Chem and Chairman, Supply Chain Committee, GPCA, welcomed delegates to the event on the morning of Day 1. “The digitally enabled supply chain ecosystem holds the power to transition the industry from having a limited view of its supply chain to having a complete view of the entire chain from sourcing to planning to customer delivery,” Al-Kuwari told delegates.

“Imagine a world where every step in the supply chain, from sourcing raw materials to final product delivery, is meticulously tracked and documented. This level of granular detail allows companies to identify and eliminate inefficiencies that contribute to environmental waste,” he added.

Highlighting the role of rail transportation in enabling greener supply chains, Dr. Bashar Al Malik, CEO, Saudi Arabia Railways (SAR), told delegates in his Plenary address on Day 1: “At SAR, we harness the strength of rail’s capacity and efficiency to not only move large volumes over long distances, but to do so in the most environmentally friendly manner possible. By effectively replacing more than 2 million truck trips on our highways, we’ve reduced fuel consumption by over 3 million barrels.”

In the first Keynote address of the day, Dr. Carolin Stumm-Wenk, MD Area Arabian Gulf, Hapag-Lloyd, highlighted the opportunities to future proof chemical supply chains not only for growth and resilience, but also for innovation, as the industry continues to face significant disruptions. In his keynote address, Saleh Al Shabnan, Chairman of the Board, Saudi Supply Chain & Procurement Society, called upon the industry to minimize the effects of geopolitical disruptions by establishing a resilient supply chain, and embracing innovation, localization, and logistics connectivity.

Day 2 began with Welcome remarks from Saleh Al-Suwaiti, CEO, FAHSS-TUV and Vice-Chairman, Supply Chain Committee, GPCA. Supply chain leaders heard about the importance of local content development and its impact on GDP. Multiple global events such as regional conflicts, virus outbreaks, climate change and the banking crisis have impacted supply chains. As a result, volatility in supply chains has been significant, demanding advanced risk management amid new-age disruptions.

Building upon the insights from this year’s conference, Dr. Abdulwahab Al-Sadoun, Secretary General, GPCA, commented: “The GCC must invest in logistics infrastructure, including seaport expansion and road and rail networks. It must develop specialized logistics cities and free zones. A GCC Railway would herald a new phase of economic integration and trade between GCC countries. At the same time, digitalization and optimization continue to be crucial in enabling supply chain agility, as technologies such as the Internet of Things (IoT), Artificial Intelligence (AI), and blockchain promise to enhance supply chain visibility and traceability.”

He added: “The regulatory environment will play a vital role in optimizing GCC logistics. Simplifying customs procedures to reduce delays and costs as well as implementing trade facilitation measures, such as Free Trade Agreements (FTAs), can provide a lifeline for the regional industry. Lastly, the industry must address Scope 3 emissions and invest in the production of low-emission maritime fuels, such as hydrogen, ammonia, and methanol, alongside investing in renewable energy sources and sustainable packaging solutions,” Dr. Al-Sadoun concluded.