Import reliant UAE is getting some fish in. For now.
Talking to SalmonBusiness, Seafood Souq founder Sean Dennis said: “We are in the same situation globally, Dubai is not shut. Yet”.
The business to business (B2B) platform called Seafood Souq is a start-up where buyers can buy from suppliers like Mowi, dealing directly with them. The core aim of it is to provide access to product and price discovery of fresh products in the quickest possible time by connecting customers to suppliers.
Sean Dennis admitted it was difficult times but was optimistic about the model of the startup. “This operates as a B2B, we are operating in just in time mode,” he said.
He said that bars, hotels are closed and Dubai is still functioning as a “skeleton” city.
Dubai and United Arab Emirates’ dependence on food imports is a major issue. In 2017, the UAE’s imports of fish and frozen fish stood at USD 167.7 million and USD 58.9 million respectively.
The supplier is managing to get salmon in, despite a drop off in passenger planes. “Turkey is shut off, Norway has been dramatically reduced,” he said. Despite this, he said that still even maintained growth this month compared to the last.
In normal times, batches of fish arrive in Dubai in the cargo hold of Emirates flight EK 28 from Glasgow. Scottish salmon, destined for restaurants and consumers. Dennis has a strong ally in Emirates SkyCargo, the freight division of Emirates – of which it partnered up with last year.
“Space is incredibly competitive, so we are lucky to be partnered with Emirates, if a country is shut off, we have options,” said Dennis.
Looking ahead, he said that because of the uncertainness ahead, freshness and traceability will become even more important.