USAID partners with Dubai Ports Authority and Dubai Aid City

Travel News Asia 8 February 2005

The United States Agency for International Developments (USAID) Office of Food for Peace has partnered with the Dubai Ports Authority (DPA) to open its first long-term overseas facility for the pre-positioning of critically needed humanitarian food relief commodities in Dubai. The goal of the Food for Peace program is to address both emerging food needs, as well as the long-term causes of hunger. Using the abundance of US agriculture, USAID provides over 2 million metric tons of food each year, valued at over US$ 1.5 Billion.

The contract involves handling and warehousing a rotating stock of up to 30,000 metric tons of US food commodities provided by USAID under Public Law 480 Title II for response to emergency food needs around the world.

The announcement was made at a press conference held today on the pier in Port Rashid, Dubai, against the backdrop of emergency food supplies worth US$ 3.03 million being loaded into containers for immediate shipment to tsunami-affected areas on multiple vessels of P&O NedLloyd. The press conference was attended by Jamal Bin Thaniah, Chief Executive Officer, Dubai Ports Authority; H.E. Michele J. Sison, US Ambassador to the UAE; Lauren Landis, Director of Food for Peace Program, USAID and Barbara Castek, Director, Dubai Aid City.

The opening of the first overseas facility for the pre-positioning of humanitarian food relief marks a major step for USAID towards adopting a more efficient logistics chain. At the same time, for Dubai Ports Authority it represents a major achievement that endorses Dubais status as one of the worlds efficient transshipment centers, said H.E U.S. Ambassador Michele J. Sison.

This reflects the United States governments commitment to ferry food commodities quickly and efficiently to disaster zones and is core to our commitment to improve human conditions around the globe, Ambassador Sison added.

The US$ 3.03 million food relief is just one portion of the total American contribution to the men, women and children of South Asia for Tsunami food relief. A total of US$ 350 million in aid has been pledged to South Asia by US President George W Bush. An additional cargo of 1,870 metric tons of vegetable oil and peas, valued at over US$ 1.67 million, is being dispatched to the people of Afghanistan, said Ambassador Sison.

Having a warehousing facility in a strategically located city like Dubai, with its ideal location and port capability, will help USAID assure that the food gets to the beneficiaries faster, said Lauren Landis, Director of Food for Peace, USAID.

Our aim is to move food shipments in the quickest time possible and this requires strong warehousing and logistical expertise. After assessing the combined strengths of Dubai Ports Authority and Dubai Aid City, we found that Dubai met our requirements, both in terms of geographical location and logistical infrastructure.

Having this food aid pre-positioned in, or en route to, Dubai has already helped the US meet its humanitarian goals in countries like Afghanistan, Kenya, Burundi, Sudan, Indonesia and Sri Lanka, added Landis. When the Tsunami struck south Asia on December 26, 2004, USAID already had thousands of tons of food aid en route to Dubai for pre-positioning. This life-saving food aid included rice, corn soy blend, vegetable oil and peas that were already on ships in Colombo in Sri Lanka and Jakarta in Indonesia and was quickly distributed to implementing partners on the ground in those countries to address the food requirements of the Tsunami-affected population.

Dubai Ports Authority is proud to be selected as the first long-term overseas facility for the pre-positioning of humanitarian food aid by USAID and we are fully geared to meet its strict criteria, said Jamal Bin Thaniah, Managing Director, Dubai Ports Authority. The awarding of this contract is testimony to the state of the art infrastructure and logistical support we can provide at short notice.

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