Industry news

The virtual conference was held on 26-27 May, attracting over 1300 attendees from 450 companies in 62 countries

Dubai, United Arab Emirates, 31 May 2021 – The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic of the last 15 months has demonstrated the acute importance of collaboration to build more agile, resilient, and responsive supply chains, said industry leaders at the 12th Gulf Petrochemicals and Chemicals Association (GPCA) Supply Chain Conference held virtually on 26-27 May.

Senior executives from across the chemical and petrochemical value chain, logistics service providers and shipping operators urged industry leaders to capitalize on the lessons learned during the pandemic and act upon them in the future – from collaborating more closely with the regulators, their customers, and strategic partners, to driving better supply chain visibility, investing in digitalization, building their workforce capabilities, and focusing on supply chain sustainability.

In his keynote address, Hamad Alterkait, Chairman of the Kuwait based company, PIC, encouraged chemical leaders to engage in supply chain collaboration even with their competitors and keep their inventory in close customer proximity to improve their reliability and better serve their end markets. He told attendees at the virtual event: “Regional chemical producers must diversify their supply base even if it means incurring higher costs in order to cushion the impact from any future crisis. Companies must also explore out of the box supply chain solutions, using different scenarios, which may aid in addressing important challenges at a critical time.”

Echoing Alterkait’s remarks on the importance of collaboration were Hosam Al-Zamil, VP, Global Supply Chain, SABIC; Ahmed Abdulla Al-Salahi, CCO, Q-Chem; and Ahmed Al-Katheeri, SVP – Supply Chain Management, Borouge, in the conference’s inaugural panel on the future of chemical supply chains. The COVID-19 pandemic was a test to chemical supply chains’ resilience, as it demonstrated that the world is one global community, panelists said.

“The future will not be the moving of our products; it will be the moving of data which will help enable responsiveness and agility and drive customer centricity to stay competitive. However, we cannot achieve this by working in silos. The chemical industry is just one part of the supply chain and we must work together to build a more resilient future,” Al-Katheeri added.

A recent GPCA survey confirms the insights shared by speakers. It found that chemical supply chain and operations have been the single most impacted business function within downstream organizations in the GCC in the past 15 months as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. In the path to recovery, chemical companies must focus on supply chain digitalization, sustainability, trade facilitation and regulatory engagement. Within these trends, carbon neutrality, Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) will be the key segments to focus on and drive the highest impact on businesses’ supply chains today, the survey found.

Dr. Abdulwahab Al-Sadoun, Secretary General, GPCA, commented, “I was pleased to welcome the regional and global chemical industry to the virtual edition of the 12th GPCA Supply Chain Conference last week and gain first-hand insight into the challenges associated with the pandemic on their chemical supply chain and operations. The audience was left with a message of positivity on what’s to come next and provided with a range of practical tips on how to address the uncertainty and any new crisis in the future. I hope delegates enjoyed attending the event and thank all our sponsors and partners for making this edition possible.”

The 12th GPCA Supply Chain Conference was held under the theme ‘Powering a resilient, responsive and agile supply chain’, attracting over 1300 attendees from 450 companies in 62 countries.