UAE camel milk goes global

For thousands of years in this region, camel’s milk has been regarded as almost an elixir of life, its health-giving properties known far and wide. One Dubai camel farm now thinks its time to spread the message even further and has plans for global expansion, as Noni Edwards reports.

The camel is a humble animal, but humans have been relying on these trusty “ships of the desert” – for survival, for as long as history has been recorded.

But now they’re serving a very different function, as the key component in one of the most recent types of food manufacturing operation to be developed.

The Camelicious dairy on the outskirts of Dubai, is the first dedicated and regulated camel milk factory to be built in the world.

There are around three thousand camels but to support their ambitious export plans, they’re going to double the size of the farm.

The farm’s manager, Dr Peter Nagy, says there is good reason for the rest of the world to know about camel milk.

“It could help in treating TB, tuberculosis, patients. Also there’s data showing that it can have antiviral effects against certain viruses.”

Even for everyday consumption he says it’s easier to drink than other milk. It has a different protein structure so people who are allergic to dairy from cows, sheep or goats can digest camel milk.

The benefits continue: he says the vitamin content is higher and all importantly, the natural fat content is lower.

In cafes around Dubai that have been testing out the camel milk retail concept, this group of Saudi women is rediscovering what their families have known for centuries.

Taghreed Turki, from Medina, said she doesn’t know why it’s fallen out of fashion.

“It was drunk by my grandfather and my ancestors and was the best drink for them but now it’s not very popular,” she said. “It’s healthy and is said to be a deterrent against cancer.”

Responses from all nationalities have been positive.

Judy Havard, from Adelaide in Australia was taken by complete surprise when asked about the taste.

“Beautiful, actually it’s a lovely cup of coffee and I didn’t even realise that it was camel milk,” she said.

Derek Turner, from Leicester in the UK said he thought it was interesting. “I thought it was sweet but not overpowering, refreshing and different in a nice way.

Roddy Fok-Shan, general manager of the Majlis al Nasseem Coffee Shops says his Asian customers are lapping it up.

“The Japanese and Chinese market, the Asian market has a big craze for the camel milk,” he explains. “One of our major customers for the camel milk chocolate is really the Asian market.”

Camel milk exports to Europe will begin later this month, after EU approval was granted in February, and after that? The sky’s the limit.

Originally broadcast on Emirates News, 2 April 2013

Monster cranes invade London

Originally broadcast on Emirates News, 2 March 2013

Dubai has been breaking records again, but this time, 5,500 kilometres away, in London.  Yes, the largest cranes ever built have sailed all the way from Shanghai to DP World’s newest port – the London Gateway. They’ve just arrived and will be a spectular addition to the English capital’s skyline, as Noni Edwards reports.

They’ve been dubbed giant cranes, monster cranes, mega-cranes and how else would you describe the biggest cranes ever built?

Taller than the London Eye, they almost challenge logic, being sailed into British waters.

The engineering rationale for their sheer size is simple. According to Andrew Bowen,  the engineering director for Dubai Ports’ London Gateway, as container ships get bigger, so must the cranes that are required to load and unload their cargo.

“These cranes are very important, they are the largest cranes ever built in the world and they are here to unload the ships, which are then delivering the products into our container stacks, and then onto trucks and out into the consumer market,” he says.

Worth USD 10 million and weighing 2,000 tonnes each, they’ve come from China on board the Zhen Hua 26. These three cranes form the first shipment of 24, destined for the Thames Estuary, 20 miles from the capital, for the multi-billion dollar deep-sea port project.

London Gateway’s CEO is proud to be bringing their port “back home”, where Simon Moore says it should be.

“It’s a deep sea hub port to serve the whole of the UK, it is also Europe’s biggest logistics park. Zero cost to the UK tax payer, this is 100 per cent private investment by DP World,” says Moore.

The port is being built on new land in the county of Essex, using 27 million cubic meters of sand and gravel taken from the river, which is enough to fill the city’s Olympic Stadium 65-times over.

The delivery of the cranes marks a significant milestone for London’s new port.

“This is very important, we’ve got the quay behind us which is built and now we have the equipment which we can offload from the vessel, then start our commissioning and training programme to enable us to open in the later part of this year,” Bowen explains.

With this project, the port’s management are hoping to achieve nothing less than restoring London’s status as a premier center of global trade.

“London Gateway is a massive infrastructure project in the UK,” says Moore. “It is the biggest job creation project in the UK. 36,000 new jobs here, we are very very big, we are 3 times the City of London”

Once complete and at running at maximum efficiency, the 2.5 kilometre port will be processing around 3.5 million containers of freight each year and will be able to accommodate ships that are nearly half a kilometre long.

Australia wins key Omani internet contract

The Oman Daily Observer reports that AusRegistry International has been awarded the contract to establish Oman’s Domain Name Registry Service by the country’s Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA).

It reports that the TRA selected the Australian company at the conclusion of a global open tender process, finding AusRegistry International to be “a global leader in the Domain Name Registry Software industry”.

The new domain name hierarchy will incorporate both the existing ‘.om’ identifier and the planned عمان (.oman) using Arabic script.

Australia-UAE enter uranium talks

Australia and the United Arab Emirates have opened discussions on peaceful uses of nuclear energy and will soon begin negotiations on a bilateral safeguards agreement.

Australian Foreign Affairs Minister Kevin Rudd was received yesterday by his UAE counterpart, Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan on the sidelines of the 118th GCC Ministerial Council, and the First Joint Ministerial Meeting on GCC-Australia Strategic Dialogue.

Mr Rudd announced the opening of discussions at a Business Breakfast held this morning in Abu Dhabi and attended by key members of the UAE-based Australian business community and local officials.

Sheikh Abdullah told the official Emirates News Agency (WAM) “a cooperation agreement between the UAE and Australia will certainly provide an opportunity to build synergies between government and commercial organisations in the two countries.”

“Initiating talks on the agreement is a significant step that reflects strong relations between the two countries and is aligned with the UAE policy for development of a peaceful nuclear energy programme in partnership with the governments and firms of responsible nations,” Sheikh Abdullah continued.

In a statement released by the Foreign Affairs ministry, Mr Rudd said “the UAE is planning for civil nuclear power generation to be operational by 2017 as an additional source of electricity to meet future demand.”

The Wall Street Journal says these plans centre around a US$20 billion nuclear power plant to be built in Abu Dhabi.

Mr Rudd continued, “the UAE is a member of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and has an Additional Protocol on strengthened safeguards with the International Atomic Energy Agency. A bilateral safeguards agreement with Australia is a further strict non-proliferation condition that Australia requires for supplying uranium,” said Mr Rudd.

He says that with a safeguards agreement in place, the UAE’s forecasted annual electricity requirement of more than 40,000 Megawatts by 2020 would open up an important additional market for Australian uranium producers.

Mr Rudd said the UAE is a Australia’s largest merchandise trading partner in the Middle East, with two-way trade for 2009-2010 valued at more than A$4.2 billion.

Rudd hopes for quick successes in GCC FTA negotiations

As he prepared for a round of talks today in Abu Dhabi, the Australian Foreign Affairs Minister, Kevin Rudd, was hoping for speedy resolutions on the question of a free trade agreement with Gulf nations.

A statement released by Mr Rudd’s office said he will “push for an early conclusion of the FTA when he meets with his Gulf Cooperation Council counterparts at the inaugural Australia-GCC Foreign Ministers’ Strategic Dialogue in Abu Dhabi later today.”

The Minister’s office recognises the importance of the Gulf trading bloc to Australia saying “the GCC FTA would help to consolidate other important trade and investment ties between Australia and the Gulf.”

“Merchandise trade between Australia and the GCC countries amounted to A$8.7 billion in 2010, and there are growing investment and services links that could benefit from the conclusion of the FTA.”

Mr Rudd will meet with GCC Foreign Ministers following the 118th session of the GCC Ministerial Council, held yesterday in the UAE capital, under the chairmanship of His Highness, Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the UAE Foreign Minister.

Earlier today in Abu Dhabi, Mr Rudd was received by the Bahraini Minister of Foreign Affairs, Shaikh Khalid bin Ahmed bin Mohammed Al Khalifa, according to the Bahrain News Agency.