I have always believed that the key to success is not just what we achieve at the moment, but in knowing what is around the corner. For 24 years, we have always managed to stay ahead of the curve.

The CSS Group entered 2020, on the heels of a successful 2019. I had expressed that optimism in my message at the beginning of the year. However, we didn’t see what was lurking just around the corner.  Starting with an outbreak, COVID-19 quickly escalated into a pandemic in no time.

“Smooth seas never made a skilled sailor”, said Franklin D Roosevelt. The last 25 years have thrown many an obstacle in our path. From our humble beginnings in Dubai as a company with just three employees, today, our footprint stretches across the Middle East and the Indian subcontinent.

Our growth is a testament to our resilience, and we will overcome this current challenge as well. Having said that, we are not out of the woods yet. Global trade is slowly limping back to normalcy, and we are part of a key vertical in this equation. The aviation sector operates at minimal capacity, and the ocean segment is heavily imbalanced in terms of equipment and capacity. Fluctuations in these two sectors have a cumulative impact on the supply chain to a degree not seen in the recent past.

Or is this the new normal?

Is this a sign for us to change what we do and how we do it? Investment in people and culture remains a priority; however, adapting to new technology has become necessary to ease process gaps and incorporate learnings from our shortfalls that the current pandemic-driven challenges have brought up.

True to our commitment to the marketplace, we have been a responsible partner. We have realigned our products and offerings to aid and support hard-hit industries. We revamped our business models and have come out much better in the second half of 2020 than what was anticipated. We are also fueled by an undying ambition to grow. Having established a niche presence in the Hamriyah Free zone, we have also completed a very successful 12-months stint in Bahrain.

To my team, the entire CSS Group family – Thank You! Your efforts and perseverance have brought us to where we are now, despite the challenges around us. We are looking to close 2020 as we did in 2019.

I would also like to thank our partners and customers who have stood by us during this unprecedented period in modern times. We have a new world unfolding in front of us, a lot of shifts ahead, and the opportunities that come with it.

At CSS, we always intend to stay ahead of the curve.

I wish you a safe end to 2020 and a much better 2021


With a GDP of $308.6 billion, Qatar is a marvel of ultramodern architecture and a burgeoning economy. Qatar has managed to top the list of the world’s wealthiest nations for 20 years.

Qatar’s 2017 blockade in its standoff with the neighboring countries has turned for its good. Qatar shaped its logistical and supply chain operations to be self-sufficient. This turned out to be beneficial in the post-Covid era when countries tried to be self-contained to decelerate the pandemic’s spread.

With FIFA choosing Qatar as the next destination of the 2022 edition of the World Cup, all eyes are on this tiny and wealthy nation. Though the pandemic effects were severely felt in Qatar, the economy is projected to keep growing with a rise in gas production and investment in preparation for the 2022 World Cup.

CSS Qatar – a Provider of Third-Party Logistics (3PL)

CSS has its presence in Qatar as Console Shipping Services W.L.L. Well-equipped with the cutting-edge infrastructural facilities, CSS Qatar has a talented team of logistical experts to meet any logistics challenge. As one of the leading Third-Party Logistics Provider (3PL), CSS Qatar stands poised to offer all the shipping and logistics requirements that might arise in this region.

As a 3PL provider, CSS Qatar offers the following services:

†     Non-Vessel Operating Common Carrier (NVOCC)

†      Ocean Freight Management

†      Air Freight Management

†      Land Transportation Management

†      Industrial Packing, Crating & Lashing

†     Multi-modal Operations

†      Container Freight Station (CFS)

†      Yacht & Marine Logistics

†      Projects, Oil & Energy

†      Exhibition & Event Logistics

†      Supply Chain Management

†      Automobile Logistics

What’s 3PL?

3PL service allows customers to focus on their operations’ core areas as they outsource operational logistics from warehousing through to delivery. Taking care of all the steps involved in supply chain management, the 3PL provider offers everything from transportation, warehousing, picking and packing, inventory forecasting, order fulfillment, packaging, and freight forwarding.

Benefits of partnering with CSS Qatar as 3 PL Provider

One of the most significant benefits of partnering with CSS Qatar as a 3PL provider is that businesses can focus on the key aspects like sales, marketing, and product development.

Here are some of the top benefits:

†     Cuts your operational expenses.

†     As businesses experience ups and downs in demands, partnering with CSS Qatar as 3PL allows companies to manage highs and lows more effectively.

†     It allows companies to provide improved customer service.

†     Flexibility to test new markets without the commitment of large capital investments.

†     Mitigate risks as you will be protected against damage and loss of goods.

†     Gain from the knowledge and experience provided by the 3 PL providers.

†     Save on warehousing and ensuring the cost of maintaining staff.

It is always crucial to entrust the logistics to an experienced provider. With more than 25 years of hands-on logistics experience, clients can rest assured as they outsource their logistical operations to CSS.


World over, there is hot demand for cold boxes.

According to the Drewry, the shipping analysts, this demand rises out of the need for fresh food. The volume of fresh food shipped across the oceans is twice as high as other products.

Reefers” or refrigerated ships and shipping containers transport perishable commodities by sea. Put simply, reefer containers are large fridges carried by container ships to move temperature-sensitive goods such as meat, vegetables, and fruits, dairy products, pharmaceuticals, etc.

Reefer containers maintain the cargo at the required temperature (usually between -30°C and +30°C) for the whole duration of the transit either in chilled, frozen, or controlled temperature.

CSS Capability in Reefers

CSS has been into reefer container shipping and has sufficient experience in this field. When facilitating the shipment, we arrange the freight, coordinate with all suppliers paying close attention to critical logistical details to ensure a seamless transportation process for our clients. All the relevant documentation and operational procedures are handled at the origin with the utmost care to ensure compliance at all levels.

The reefer container ship is fully equipped with reliable power and backup power sources. The temperature-sensitive and perishable goods are packed carefully to allow proper air circulation throughout the transit. Monitored throughout the entire transportation process, we track the reefer shipment in real-time so our clients can enjoy complete peace of mind once they entrust their reefer movements to CSS.

CSS Sri Lanka Ensures Global Foods Fresh at Your Doorstep

In July 2020, CSS Sri Lanka rolled out the reefer project, this involved the reefer movement of fresh potatoes, garlic, and grapes from China and pomegranates and dates from Egypt

Based in Colombo, the CSS team, Sri Lanka meticulously planned and coordinated with the suppliers for potatoes, garlic in Mainland China and, grapes, pomegranates, and dates from Egypt. The documentation and other operational procedures for transit from China to Sri Lanka were done as per the stipulated laws and regulations.

Ms. Menusha Srilankeshwara, the Branch Manager at CSS Sri Lanka, says, “CSS has handled reefer containers all along, and I have about 10 to 15 years’ experience in doing reefer movements. Having handled commodities such as coconut water and all coconut-based products along with fresh seafood like prawns to fruits, vegetables, and other perishables, CSS Lanka has the capability to bring fresh food from across the world to your doorstep.”

The plans are in the pipeline to handle shipment of sugar from India as well. At CSS, we are well versed in the critical elements involved when it comes to refrigerated cargo.

Need for Fresh Food and Hot Demand for Reefers 

Today, consumers across the world expect to have the freshest produce and goods throughout the whole year. Refrigerated containers or “reefers” can keep food fresh for more than a month, allowing distributors to safely send everything from orange juice to lobsters around the world.

The growing affluence of the global population, especially in Asia, has boosted demand for international foods. The affluent class in Asia has an increasing demand for fresh fruit, vegetables, and fresh meat. This demand is pushing the logistics industry to move more products under cold management.

The uncertainties of 2020 have made one thing clear – fresh fruit, vegetables, frozen foods, and pharmaceuticals are ‘essential,’ and moving them to where they are needed is vital.


As a Non-Vessel Operating Common Carrier, the CSS has the best talent, resources, and partners across the globe to provide top-notch logistics to our customers looking for vehicle shipments across the nations.

The avid vlogger from the South Indian state of Kerala, Shakir Subhan, with a YouTube channel called Mallu Traveller, airs his budget travels worldwide. His Instagram handles @mallu_traveller boasts his motto, “Spend less, travel more.” Having traveled to more than 24 countries, his channel has 1.31 million subscribers today. He gained fame with his viral videos documenting his stay at a Corona isolation ward at Kannur, Kerala.

The globe-trotter was on “a solo world bike tour” when he was forced to discontinue his landmark journey in Azerbaijan when he was about to enter Georgia due to the global coronavirus outbreak. Shakir had to leave his trusted steed, a TVS Apache RTR 200 motorbike, in the care of the customs at Baku, Azerbaijan, and travel back to his home state of Kerala in India. He has fondly named the customized TVS Apache RTR 200 ‘Amina‘ as a tribute to his mother, Kunjamina.

While Subhan was in Kerala, he yearned to be reunited with ‘Amina.’ That was where CSS stepped into the picture to reunite Subhan and his trustworthy companion on many journeys worldwide.

CSS was instrumental in transporting the TVS RTR 2004V from Baku in Azerbaijan. With the COVID protocols delaying shipment across most countries, CSS undertook the stupendous task of planning out the motor bike’s shipment, Amina.

CSS undertook this task when most flights were canceled, and cargo movement was highly restricted due to the COVID protocols. The bike was air-freighted from Baku (GYD) Airport to the Dubai International Airport via SILK WAY Airlines (ZP) cargo flight carrier and then later trans-shipped from the Jebel Ali Port to the Cochin Sea Port through CSS LCL console service. The seamless logistics provided by CSS enabled the smooth movement of the shipment. The much-loved bike and its owner were once again reunited after more than six months.

Here’s CSS wishing Shakir Subhan many more miles of safe travels around the world!.


On the 1st of October 2020, CSS Bahrain successfully completed one year of its operations in the island nation OF Bahrain. Surmounting all the odds that ensued in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, CSS Bahrain has managed to exceed expectations to reach this triumphant milestone.



As a part of restructuring our operations in Bahrain, we restarted our operations under a new brand name called Console Shipping Services W.L.L. Console Shipping Services W.L.L Bahrain works as a neutral NVOCC with its service offerings in the areas of Air & Sea Freight, Land Transport & Projects. Maintaining excellent relationships with leading carriers, Console Shipping Services W.L.L Bahrain is the preferred partner for many Bahrain businesses. This advantage has enabled us to provide competitive rates and services to our client base.

Part of the CSS Group, Console Shipping Services W.L.L Bahrain, offers turnkey project forwarding solutions to worldwide destinations, with hands-on management and highly experienced project professionals.


The year 2020 was indeed a challenging one for businesses across the world. Despite these grim challenges, CSS Bahrain has emerged victorious, even surpassing the predictions and forecasts for the past year. This has proved to motivate the CSS Bahrain team, instilling within them a distinct sense of confidence to face fresh challenges and a thirst for new conquests.

CSS Bahrain Team is still to reach a wide customer base in Bahrain due to the COVID-19 protocols’ restrictions. However, the team at CSS Bahrain is slowly yet steadily extending our support to all our customers while strictly adhering to the COVID-19 safety regulations within the country.

Enabled by cutting-edge technology, the teams were working remotely throughout the lockdown. They were able to stay in touch with the customer base by providing them with superlative customer support, along with cost-effective solutions. This is reflected in the high levels of customer satisfaction that have been reported from Bahrain. Backed by the unstinted support from the CSS Group Management, every member of Team CSS Bahrain has played in a crucial role in attaining this achievement during this pandemic season.


From Bahrain Customs, APM Terminals to the Shipping Lines, CSS Bahrain has developed and sustain good relationships with the stakeholders in the country. This has enabled us to provide seamless and efficient services to our customers.

CSS Bahrain understands individual projects’ specific requirements and customizes its services according to our client’s prerequisites. With its remarkable footprint across the Middle East and the Indian sub-continent, Console Shipping Services W.L.L. is proud to be part of the CSS Group’s unparalleled global agency network.


Expo 2020 aims at a global celebration of humanity’s resilience, creativity, culture, and innovation – a tribute to humanity’s resilience in its ability to innovate and achieve the pursuit of optimism in times of adversity. Expo 2020 Dubai is slated to start on October 01, 2021, to build a strong, sustainable future for the global community in a spirit of innovation.

The UAE Minister of State for International Cooperation and Director General Expo 2020 Dubai Bureau – Her Excellency Reem Al Hashimy expressed, “Our leadership has spared no effort, has guided us and provided all resources to ensure that our World Expo will be a true expression of the UAE’s values, reflecting its ambition to build a better future for us, the region and the world – a future of which the upcoming generations will be proud of.”

Our World Expo has a mission to inspire hope, and in the coming weeks, we will begin to share new details and ideas on space, health and wellness, travel and connectivity, and other matters that are at the heart of this Expo.” Her Excellency also added, “We hope that people will join us to achieve our objectives to bring the world together and put humanity and the planet on the right path towards dignity for all.” The UAE Minister of State for International Cooperation and Director General Expo 2020, Dubai Bureau, thanked all those who worked hard, passionately, and diligently to deliver an exceptional Expo. Her Excellency mentioned that the journey has been worth it, and in the coming days, we will be sharing the excitement and passion with millions.

The progress at the Expo site has moved at an astounding pace, covering more than 210 million work hours up to date. The year 2020 focused on landscaping work and fit-out of Expo owned buildings.

The construction of Country Pavilions is set to be finalized by the end of the year. The first World Expo in the Middle East, Africa, and South Asia (MEASA) region is set to start from October 01 2021 until March 31 2022 and aims to bring together more than 190 countries to explore new ideas, form new connections and collectively tackle some of the greatest global challenges of our time.


A new report entitled “Zero Carbon for Shipping” from an international conservation organization – Ocean Conservancy, launched at a virtual gathering of world leaders at the climate week in New York highlighted the global shipping industry’s tragic role in the climate crisis. The report mentioned that the worldwide shipping industry is poorly regulated when it comes to meeting climate targets.

The report pushed the need for shipping industries to ditch fossil fuels urgently to achieve the planet’s climate goals. The emissions have been growing significantly year after year and are expected to grow 50% higher by 2050. In this regard, a panel of international shipping experts, government, and civil society aim to meet the International Maritime Organizations (IMO) voluntary goal to reduce the total annual greenhouse gas emissions to at least 50% by 2050 compared to 2008 and at the same time aiming to remove them entirely.

A Move Towards Total Decarbonization

Dan Hubbell, Ocean Conservancy’s Shipping Emissions Campaign Manager, remarked, “To achieve IMO’s goal and also to halt climate change, the first zero-emission ships must be on the water by 2030”. This also helps achieve total decarbonization by 2050. The move for commercial production of Zero carbon ships is on so that this need is met by 2030. Some ways for the industry to transform new clean energy sources are electrofuels derived from hydrogen or ammonia.

Few alternatives fuels considered for making better fuel and infrastructure choices are

Electrification of the shipping fleet: China, Germany, Sweden, and Norway are pioneers in various forms of electric shipping. China and Norway are not far and have begun trials on a range of new large-scale electric vessels as these are currently restricted to small ferries and coastal vessels.

Hydrogen fuel cells: Some ships produce their hydrogen from seawater and, in the process, can operate without emitting greenhouse gases or dust pollution

Ammonia: Ammonia is undoubtedly a green fuel, but the Port of Beirut’s incident questioned the safety protocols that need to be rewritten, given the fuel’s higher explosive risk.

LNG: Liquified Natural Gas as fuel has methane leaks that happen along the supply chain. Methane is more dangerous than carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and has been growing 150% in 5 years. Hence the use of LNG is considered to be controversial.

According to a report for the IMO by the International Council on Clean Transport, it has been cited that the 150% growth in methane emissions from 2012 to 2018 was largely due to a surge in the number of ships fuelled by liquefied natural gas (LNG). The choices made in the next decade 2020-2030, demands immediate action as this holds the key towards a green maritime future. The Zero Carbon for Shipping report submitted by Nick Ash from Ricardo Energy and Environment noted that the IMO’s current goals are not ambitious enough. The adoption of electrofuels will lead to additional benefits like reducing the cost of renewable energy, long term jobs in infrastructure and sustainable industries, decarbonization of supply chains, and reduced reliance on imported fossil fuels.


TiA, the world’s first intelligent virtual assistant for freight, empowers teams with conversational Ai to automate repetitive, coordination tasks. 90% of the calls, messages, and emails exchanged in freight are done for data gathering and dispersal, be it for rate discovery, quotations, or status updates, thus making the ecosystem prone to data drop, delays and errors. TiA was an obvious choice to start the automation journey by tackling these redundant tasks“, said Abhinav Chaudhary, Co-founder, and CEO, Fero.Ai.

The company built the world’s first Siri/Alexa for freight and logistics – Fero.Ai. It is defined as an enterprise SaaS venture that builds advanced freight automation, optimization, and orchestration products using narrow Ai systems recently announced global expansion plans starting with India this month. This decision was set off due to their selection in the 2020 Microsoft Startups Accelerator program for high tech startups.

Microsoft for Startups is a free, global program dedicated to helping B2B startups successfully scale their companies. We were impressed with the passion the Fero.Ai team showed in bringing the power of Ai to the freight & logistics space, and we look forward to supporting the impact that the team has envisioned, “said Roberto Croci, Managing Director, Microsoft for Startups MEA.

Fero.Ai’s products provide plug and play uberization for large freight forwarders as well as the IVA (Intelligent Virtual Assistant) in creating autonomous collaboration, coordination, communication channels for those last-minute direct shippers who may be involved in the distribution operations. Fero.Ai believes that there are two means to solve the issues faced due to a lack of hyper-connectivity between all the moving parts and stakeholders. The first alternative is through technology, and the second is through human intervention. The industry has been solving most inconsistency issues, errors, data leaks, restricted processing inventories, and archaic user experience by the second alternative.

Arjun Bhasin, the Co-founder & CTO of, Fero.Ai reiterated, “To optimize hyper-connectivity through technology, we have built products that eliminate tech siloes, decrease onboarding struggles and increase adoption through integration and intuitive usability. We have consciously adopted the path of device-agnostic solutions. TiA can be accessed on any smart device. We will be using our partnership with Microsoft to prepare our tech infra to support advanced computing capabilities and exponential scale-up“.

The Co-founder and CSO, Fero.Ai, Naseer Ahmed expressed that the MfS team understands the needs of hyper-growth tech ventures and is pivotal to Fero.Ai in becoming a part of a larger tech ecosystem.

With TiA in the picture, seamlessly integrating all major freight ERPs thus forming a lateral automation layer eliminating tech and process siloes while supercharging teams through the power of automated collaboration, Fero.Ai’s customers can cut several pricey situations with 100% improvement in visibility and usability


The Indian Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, has stated that India is considering investing Rs 10,000 crore for building a transshipment port at Great Nicobar Island in the Bay of Bengal to provide shippers with an alternative to similar ports in the region.

The 2,312 km long first undersea submarine optical fiber cable from Chennai to Andaman and Nicobar Islands costing Rs.1,224 crore is set to provide high-speed internet to Andaman and Nicobar Islands, thereby providing better and cheaper connectivity.

A transshipment terminal enables big ships to anchor and raise India’s share in maritime trade because of its advantageous geographical location, promising proximity to the east-west international shipping route with shorter distances at reasonable prices. This would also help create new job opportunities, emphasized PM Modi.

He also stressed that the government’s focus is on promoting ease of business and simplifying maritime logistics to strengthen the network of waterways and ports. India is at the forefront to establish itself as an important player in the global supply and value chain. For this to be achieved, every legal measure is being taken to remove bottlenecks hampering the port infrastructure’s development.

The Prime Minister further stated that Andaman and Nicobar will be developed as a hub of port-led development as it is at a competitive distance from many parts of the world. The undersea cable will help boost tourism as it will provide better mobile and internet connectivity on the Islands.

From Chennai to Port Blair, Port Blair to Little Andaman and Port Blair to Swaraj Dweep, this service has started in large part of Andaman Nicobar from today,” said Modi, also adding that it will boost 4G mobile services and digital services like tele-education, telehealth, e-governance services and tourism on the Islands. Besides Port Blair, it will connect other islands, namely Swaraj Dweep (Havelock), Long Island, Rangat, Little Andaman, Kamorta, Car Nicobar, and Greater Nicobar. As per official data, an internet speed of 400 gigabytes (GB) per second will be provided at Port Blair and other islands, at 200 GB per second. BSNL supported the work of laying the undersea cable in a record time of lesser than 24 months.

Physical connectivity through road, air, and water is also being worked on. PM Modi highlighted the National Highway No. 4 to improve the road connectivity between North and Middle Andaman. Port Blair is undergoing a major transformation to handle a capacity of 1,200 passengers along with big-time reformations taking place in airports in Diglipur, Car Nicobar, and Campbell Bay.

Modi also mentioned that few ships are being built at the Kochi Shipyard and will be delivered soon to improve the water connectivity between the islands and the mainland, thus hinting that seaplane services will start once the passenger terminal and floating jetty gets ready at Swaray Dweep, Shaheed Dweep, and Long Island. India is interestingly moving forward with a resolve of self-sufficiency and is establishing itself as an essential player in the global supply and value chain along with a strengthened network of waterways and ports.


To cut down the voyage cost, shipping companies move towards using larger container vessels as the voyage cost per twenty-foot equivalent unit (TEU) would be reduced by using high capacity vessels. But this view results in large container ships making fewer port calls due to draft restrictions. Though there are few ports calls, there are larger box exchanges.

From the maritime point of view, mega-ships become profitable only when fully utilized with limited port calls. This leads to ports losing direct calls for trade lanes with limited amounts of cargo. Transshipment of cargo is an alternative here that could cover up this loss. Trans-shipment normally happens in the following cases:

†     When there is no direct shipping route to any specific destination

†    The port is unable to accommodate big vessels.

†    When moving the cargo from one country to another to evade trade restrictions.

Ports as Transhipment Hubs

The majority of transshipment cargo are containers and roll-on-roll-off cargo. Containers are utilized for transporting merchandised goods, while roll-on-roll-off cargo (also called RORO) are mostly wheeled cargo such as cars, trucks, semi-trailer trucks, trailers, and railroad cars.

While selecting a port as a trans-shipment hub port, certain factors are taken into consideration:

†    Location

†     Port accessibility

†     Port superstructures

†    Port traffic

†    Number of services calling at the port

†    Availability of dedicated/own terminal

†    Performance of the port

†     Frequency of delays

†    Record of damages

†    Port handling charges

†    Financial clearance capability

†    Efficient husbandry services

†     Marketing efforts and personal contacts

Sri Lanka on the Transhipment Map

Out of the 200 ports in South Asia, concentrated in India, 20 of them handle more than 9000 TEU’s of containerized cargo annually. Sri Lanka is a market dominated by trans-shipment and is the 2nd largest player in the region with a throughput of more than 6 million TEUs in 2018. The Port of Colombo is the main transshipment hub, with 80% of throughput coming from transshipment. In 2018, India was recorded as the largest container market moving more than 16 million TEUs, followed by Pakistan at 3.2 million TEUs and Bangladesh at 2.8 million TEUs. Interestingly, Maldives handled less than 100,000 TEUs in 2018.

Sri Lanka will be able to take advantage only if their ports can cater to the large container ships’ requirements that the shipping lines keep adding to their fleet. Sri Lanka renders low quality than counterparts like Hongkong, Singapore, and Dubai in terms of logistics services, physical infrastructure, technology, and a sufficient number of qualified professionals and international participants. LPI (Logistics Performance Indicator) rated Sri Lanka 92nd out of 167 countries in the World bank 2018 aggregated Logistics Performance Indicator. Sri Lanka scored 2.64 in logistics competence that includes competence and quality of logistics services compared to India’s score of 3.18, UAE scored 3.83, Hong Kong 3.94, and Singapore at 4.08. From this rating, it is clear that Sri Lanka has to improve physical infrastructure and human resources development.

Chinese Investments in Sri Lankan Ports

The Hambantota Port in Sri Lanka started its operations in 2011 after completion of its phase one. But its operations failed to generate sufficient revenue to match the debt obligations on the loans obtained for the project. This port was then leased out to the China Merchants Port Holdings Company Limited (CM Port) who have been on their feet trying to ramp up the Sri Lankan port by employing exceptional operational skill, market power, commercial relationships, marketing skills, technological expertise, and access to cheaper finance sources.

As per the ranking, the Port of Colombo stands as the 13th best Connectivity Port globally in the 4th quarter of 2017 and is voted to the top best connectivity port in South Asia. A joint venture $500 million Colombo International Container Terminal (CICT) operated by China and Sri Lanka at the Colombo South Terminal in the Colombo Port handled 2.9 million TEUs in 2019. The CICT feels Ultra Large Container Carriers that makes up for 72% of the terminal and is the first and only deepwater port in South Asia capable of handling the large vessels afloat.

The Sri Lankan government had signed a diplomatic “memorandum of cooperation” (MOC) with India and Japan for a tripartite effort to develop the strategic East Container Terminal (ECT). With Japan and India’s presence in the Colombo Port with China’s CICT will improve its business outlook and value through transshipment activities. Hence partnering with a global maritime player like China is the most practical way to fulfill maritime development and connectivity


In August 2020, high-level delegations from Israel and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) signed a historic US-brokered peace deal at the White House. Bahrain’s foreign minister signed another agreement to normalize relations with Israel.

Called as the Abraham Accords, President Trump called the deal between Prime Minister Netanyahu and Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan “a truly historic moment“.

The international community has welcomed the move, and under the terms of the deal, Israel has agreed to suspend its controversial plans to annex parts of the occupied West Bank.

What are the Abraham Accords?

†    The Israel–UAE normalization agreement is officially called the Abraham Accords Peace Agreement.

†    It was initially agreed to in a joint statement by the United States, Israel, and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) on August 13, 2020.

†    The UAE thus became the third Arab country, after Egypt in 1979 and Jordan in 1994, to formally normalize its relationship with Israel and the first Persian Gulf country to do so.

†    Israel has agreed to suspend plans for annexing parts of the West Bank. The agreement normalized what had long been informal but robust foreign relations between the two countries.

The “Abraham Accords” is a significant shift in the balance of power in the Middle East.

Communication Links

Israel and UAE established telephone links and direct communication channels with UAE’s telecom providers unblocking calls to numbers with Israel’s +972 country code. The Israeli foreign minister Gabi Ashkenazi called his Emirati counterpart Abdullah bin Zayed al-Nahyan and exchanged greetings following the historic peace accord.

Strategic Agreements

The leading business and logistics hub in the UAE, Jebel Ali Free Zone (JAFZA), has signed a strategic agreement with The Federation of Israeli Chambers of Commerce (FICC) in a focused effort to support businesses and encourage economic cooperation. Sultan Ahmed bin Sulayem, Group Chairman and CEO of DP World, and Uriel Lynn, President, FICC signed the agreement virtually. As part of the Memorandum, the entities intend to foster and boost partnerships between the two nations to increase and promote bilateral trade ties.

What are the Benefits?

The recent development in the UAE’s and Israel’s bilateral agreements has opened up new avenues in various sectors. This development will lend an impetus to economic growth, transforming the business landscapes in both countries.

Israel has phenomenal innovation and technological capabilities, whereas the UAE holds a prime position in global trade and is one of the greatest business hubs in the world. Building trade ties will be beneficial for both sides. The countries intend to strengthen ties to usher in a new level of prosperity.

The Israel-GCC synergy

†    With defense and security cooperation as one of the strong points, both sides are ready to realize their economic complementarity’s full potential.

†    The UAE and Bahrain can become the entrepôts to Israeli exports of goods and services to diverse geographies.

†    Israel has niche strengths in defense, security and surveillance equipment, arid farming, solar power, horticultural products, high-tech, gem and jewelry, and pharmaceuticals.

†    Tourism, real estate, and financial service sectors on both sides have suffered due to the pandemic and hope for a positive spin-off from the peer-to-peer interactions.

†    Further, Israel can supply skilled and semi-skilled workforce to the GCC states, particularly from the Sephardim and Mizrahim ethnicities, many of whom speak Arabic.

†    Even the Israeli Arabs may find career opportunities to bridge the cultural divide. Israel is known as a start-up nation, and its stakeholders could easily fit in the various duty-free incubators in the UAE.

†    Israeli cyber surveillance manufacturers are eager to tap into the large GCC market.

†    Israel is working on potential joint projects that could improve UAE’s food security, such as water desalination and crop cultivation in the desert.


There have been considerable developments in the field of logistics as well. DP World, one of the world’s largest port operators, has announced its plans to make a joint bid for Israel’s Haifa Port.

DP World has also made strategic alliances with the Israeli Bank Leumi to explore potential logistics sectors’ potential opportunities. DHL has already completed the first shipment from UAE to Israel. Other logistics service providers have been exploring ways to tap into opportunities.

CSS introduces UAE-Israeli service

CSS has been one of the first logistics providers to step into this new arena by opening new trade avenues between Israel and the UAE. We have established logistic routes to ensure seamless and speedy shipments between the UAE and Israel. Speaking on the newly rolled out services, Chairman T.S. Kaladharan emphasized. “At CSS, we are thrilled to carry cargo between Israel and the UAE. We are sure that our new logistic services to Israel will benefit businesses in both countries with the seamless flow of goods.”

News sources state that the bilateral trade could initially be worth $4 billion a year, and this could soon be tripled or quadrupled.


The special division of the High Court; the Admiralty Court, whose jurisdiction includes shipping and maritime disputes; apart from hearing cases relating to vessel collisions, salvage, vessel mortgage-related disputes, and various other marine-related claims/disputes. It also has the power to arrest vessels to stop them from moving and to order their sale, which is broadly referred to as claims in rem, or claims against the vessel itself.

This article focuses on the procedure being applied while deciding on the sale of a Yacht, with an unusual turnaround at the end.

The underlying question was, “Can the English Court stop a judicial sale after judgment and an order for sale of a vessel”? The same was decided on 25th March 2020 by Mr. Justice Teare. In the case of Qatar National Bank QPSC v Owners of the Yacht Force India [2020] EWHC 719, however, with a few comments, warnings, and caveats.

Brief of the case are as follows:-

The claimant bank (QNB) had a mortgage over the motor yacht “Force India.”

The loan had been taken out by a legally unrelated company to finance the purchase of a substantial property in the South of France, which was not at all related to purchase or re-finance the acquisition of the yacht. The yacht owner Force India Ltd. agreed to mortgage its vessel as additional security for the loan because the loan’s property value had dropped, and the bank required additional security.

Due to default in payment, on 29th January 2020, the claimant bank had obtained a judgment against the yacht in respect of sums outstanding under its mortgage (Circa €5million) over the yatch. Accordingly, the Admiralty Marshall was instructed by the Court to sell the yacht, and purchase bids were to be lodged by 10th March 2020.

On 10th March 2020, the successful bidder QNB, and the defendant applied to the Court to set aside the sale order. However, the Court turned down the application, but suspended the sale from conducting a full hearing and making a proper determination in the matter, and sought certain undertakings to protect the Admiralty Marshall’s position, its sale broker, and certain other claimants.


What caused the claimant and the defendant to file an application to set aside the order to sell the vessel?

As per Court’s ruling, around the pertinent time i.e. around the time of the original QNB sale application, and subsequently, a company (can be referred to as buyer) with no links to the owner of “Force India.” They were agreed to purchase the shares in the company which owned the French property, which is at the center of the loan in question. A French court approved a continuation plan for the property holding company (as it had been placed under judicial receivership). In early March 2020, an agreement was reached between QNB and the said buyer, whereby the buyer would pay a certain sum of money to QNB in exchange, amongst other things, for an assignment of the mortgage on the yacht. As part of that agreement, QNB was to apply to the Admiralty Court to have the order of sale revoked by noon on 10th March 2020.

As the buyer had repaid the relevant monies owed to QNB rather than the owner, the Court concluded that “the judicial sale of the vessel is no longer required.” This made it quite unusual as it was the successful claimant who asked for the sale to be revoked.

The matter was fully heard on 25th March 2020, where the order for sale was set aside. The reason for doing so was simple, i.e., in circumstances where a third party had, in effect, paid the sum secured by the mortgage, judicial sale of the vessel was no longer required.

It is indeed surprising to see the official sale procedure halted so far into the process, and so near its conclusion and the concern is shared and duly recorded by Mr. Justice Teare, which can be referred to in paragraphs 10 through 13 of the judgment which is worth a read:

Sales by the Admiralty Marshal of vessels arrested in an Admiralty action in rem are the means by which, failing the provision of alternative security, claims in rem are enforced. The Marshal’s sales are free of pre-existing maritime liens, statutory rights of action in rem, or other encumbrances. To ensure that the market price is achieved, the vessel’s value is appraised before the sale. The Marshal cannot sell for less than the appraised value without the permission of the Court. These features of an Admiralty sale are well known to the market. If it became the practice for orders for sale to be set aside, those willing to incur the time and expense involved in making a bid for a vessel ordered to be sold may feel disinclined to do so. That might lead to vessels being sold for less than their market value and might tarnish the Court’s reputation. In the long term, the Admiralty Court’s service to the maritime community would or might be damaged.

These concerns suggest that the Court should be reluctant to set aside a sale, particularly when the application is made as late as the application in this case was made. In his witness statement the Marshal has stated that, according to his broker, Paul Wilcox of Kellocks, around 20 potential bidders had carried out inspections and investigations during the sale period. If it became widespread knowledge that parties can stop a sale process, it would make interested parties “more cautious about bidding for vessels being sold through the court’s process.”

The setting aside of sales should certainly not become a practice.

However, there are very few instances of such applications being made. The only reported instance appears to be The Acrux in 1961. That such applications are rare is apparent from the witness statement of the Marshal in which he said that he had been informed by his broker, Mr. Paul Wilcox of Kellocks, that in his 40 year association with court sales he had never known such an application being made to halt a sale at such a late stage.”

“I was therefore persuaded that unusual and perhaps exceptional circumstances brought about the need to set aside the order for sale in the present case. So long as the market understands this, there should not be any damage to the reputation of the Court or to its ability in future cases to achieve a vessel’s market value when an order for sale is made.”

As rightly stated by Mr. Justice Teare, this case was unusual and perhaps exceptional because it is quite rare that an independent third party would be prepared, effectively, to “discharge the judgment debt and so render the sale unnecessary”, but that is exactly what happened in the case of “FORCE INDIA”.