Maja Antolović, Executive Director, DP World

Embrace Equal Rights Opportunities

DP World is the leading provider of smart end-to-end supply chain logistics worldwide, enabling the flow of trade across the globe. Through an interconnected global network of 128 business units in 60 countries across six continents, DP World covers every link of the integrated supply chain

The plan for DP World Novi Sad is to invest in upgrading facilities and a commitment to the full modernisation of equipment, processes, expanding capabilities and training and employing a local workforce. The company aims to provide the highest level of services along the entire course of the Danube

DP World, the world’s third largest port operator, arrived in Novi Sad in May last year. How did this come about?

The Port of Novi Sad in Serbia has an excellent strategic location in the centre of the province of Vojvodina, where 70% of the cereals produced are for local and international markets. This was one of the key factors that attracted DP World’s investment.

As a global trade enabler, our strategy is to cover door-to-door services throughout the logistics chain, from E-line bookings, customs clearances, packing, road and rail transport, storage, free zones, ports, ocean transport, air cargo transport and more.

We think ahead, anticipate change and deploy industryleading technology to further broaden our digital vision and create the smartest, most efficient and innovative solutions, while ensuring a positive and sustainable impact on economies, societies and our planet.

Our comprehensive range of products and services covers every link in the integrated supply chain – from maritime and inland terminals, to marine services and industrial parks, as well as technology-driven customer solutions. Even during these unprecedented times brought about by COVID-19, DP World is still investing to support existing businesses to meet market demand, including ports, logistics and marine enterprises in Ukraine, Angola and Montenegro, as well as feeder companies in various locations.

As someone who was involved in the project from the beginning, do you believe that the Port of Novi Sad can become the leading port in Serbia? Can you tell us more about plans and strategies for growth and development?

Novi Sad is a key part of DP World’s global strategic footprint, connecting EU river ports from the North Sea to the Black Sea and providing diversified port, logistics and marine services for all types of cargo. DP World’s pledge to transform Novi Sad into a modern port facility goes beyond our contractual commitment. We have significant plans to implement DP World policies and procedures to meet the best global standards. We also plan to establish cutting-edge port handling technology and operating systems that will enable us to efficiently and cost effectively meet the needs of both existing and new clients with a competitive offer of port, logistics, freight forwarding, customs clearance, transport and other port services.

In 2018 we launched DPWorld4Women – representing our commitment to drive more gender equality initiatives across the business

DP World’s management team includes two women. Considering it’s a Dubai-based company would you say “just two women” or “as many as two women”?

There are historic and cultural reasons that the logistics sector has traditionally been male dominated, but it is time to consign this tradition to the past. DP World employs many women at all levels of the business, from crane operators and port CEOs, to top executives who help formulate our long-term strategy and enact our founders’ principles.

Since its inception, DP World has embraced equal rights opportunities, inclusion and cultural diversity. In 2018 we launched DPWorld4Women – representing our commitment to drive more gender equality initiatives across the business. We have also launched a programme of bespoke leadership training for our female colleagues, Women Lead@ DP World.

Speaking of women in leadership positions, did your sporting, competitive spirit elevate you to the top positions, given that you were an Olympic athlete and a professional coach?

My sporting achievements have helped me throughout my life by giving me a foundation of discipline and determination to achieve my goals, as well as the understanding that success is built through hard work and an open mind – I believe in listening and learning new things every day.

Although I’m proud of my participation in the Olympics, I’ve never used that for self-promotion and I certainly don’t feel as though I’m above my colleagues; rather I feel a great responsibility to treat everyone with respect and help them to achieve their goals in more of a coaching or mentor capacity.

How much has the port activity changed compared to earlier years?

The port business has been through a number of evolutionary stages, but the last few years have seen a period of exponential change, for example with the introduction of remote crane operators, crewless vessels, E-commerce and online bookings, high-rise automated container stacking, LNG and environmentally friendly vessels, as well as many more innovations.

Going forward, we envisage the increased transformation of technology, particularly IT systems and robotics.

Our approach is to build a top-level competitive and profitable business that has long term sustainability

A few examples of changes already endorsed by international maritime conventions and global treaties are:

* Reduction of CO2 emissions by implementing LNG (liquefied natural gas) – new generation engines that use low sulphate fuel, electric and even hydro power for propulsion

* New terminal handling equipment that can be operated remotely, thus reducing risks to employee safety

* Self-load and self-discharge vessels managed from a control cabin

* IT systems of management supported by drones with high definition infrared cameras, providing real time data for the efficient management of labour forces, workloads, safety and security

DP World invests continuously in new technologies and new services, in order to improve trade globally. What will the supply chains of the future look like?

I have already highlighted DP World’s strategy, existing services and future potential – a potential that is demonstrated daily with new innovations like Virgin Hyperloop. Prior to investing in these changes, we investigated and conducted detailed reviews of the performance and capability of our existing facilities, completed an in-depth market study on existing and potential competition and built a number of business scenarios that were tested and incorporated into our long-term plan.

Our approach is to build a top-level competitive and profitable business that has long term sustainability. I wish to conclude by saying that I’m proud and happy to be part of the DP World group, and I’m excited for what the future holds, both for Novi Sad and the company as a whole.

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