NAFL looks to future

The National Association of Freight and Logistics (NAFL) has crossed a number of major milestones in Dubai this year.

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By  Alex Hawkes Published  December 10, 2006

|~|Ghafoor2.jpg|~||~|The National Association of Freight and Logistics (NAFL), which is the United Arab Emirates division of the International Federation of Freight Forwarders Associations (FIATA), has been tasked with upholding the country’s flourishing reputation in the international logistics industry. It’s certainly not an easy task, but the association has crossed a number of major milestones this year, including considerable progress in making liability insurance mandatory amongst logistics companies in the Middle East. “We made a number of changes and improvements this year to develop our operations,” says Captain Mansoor Ghafoor, NAFL’s president for the past six years. “The association was formed in 1992, with the objective of upholding standards in the logistics and sea freight industry. We have worked really hard from the very beginning and we are now starting to see results, especially this year.” Providing training in the industry has always been an important part of the NAFL’s operations. It has established a training facility within its headquarters, where people can study the globally recognised FIATA diploma. “Training plays a role in protecting the image of Dubai, because logistics companies performing poorly or unethically could potentially harm the industry’s reputation,” says Ghafoor. The course, which consists of 11 separate modules, has proved successful and the association is planning to expand the education process in the future. “We are introducing the training to young nationals as well. It’s important to promote a career in logistics in the country, because the number of nationals in this area is very small,” says Ghafoor. “In addition, we have acquired a license to train in other Middle Eastern and African countries from next year. Africa is included because, asides from me being president of the NAFL, I am also part of FIATA and I chair the Middle East and Africa region.” As business increases, the NAFL is actively increasing the importance of insurance in the logistics industry. During 2006, it stepped up measures to promote mandatory liability insurance within the industry, by making it an essential requirement for members, both current and future. “This is one of the conditions of membership,” says Ghafoor. “We need companies to purchase liability cover that protects their customers as well as themselves. We have seen incidents where companies come to Dubai, because the rules welcome everybody, they do a lot of wrong practices and then suddenly disappear. It affects the name of Dubai, which is terrible, so we are increasing awareness within the industry.” Yet the nature of the NAFL means it has to do this by influencing from the top. Despite approving five to six new board members every month, the association remains exclusive to those at the forefront of the industry. The number of member companies is between 165 to 170, whilst there are more than 2000 forwarding and logistics companies. “We are 10%, but this 10% is the cream of the industry. The bigger players are all members,” says Ghafoor. Undoubtedly the biggest event next year for the NAFL is the return of the FIATA conference to Dubai in October. Having previously held the conference in 1999, Dubai is the first country to be host twice in less than ten years. “We are the only country to achieve this honour because we controlled the previous congress very well. There were 1000 to 1500 people in attendance, and all these companies kept repeating that Dubai was so far the best,” says Ghafoor. “The expectations are high, but we are accustomed to it. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum is again patron. We are working very closely with the government offices to make this a very successful event.”||**||

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