Jun 8, 2021

What is Dubai’s rapidly growing World Logistics Passport?

3 min
The World Logistics Passport welcomed 10 new nations this month, but what is it and how could it accelerate trade in emerging markets?

Nations from across Asia, Africa and South and Central America are lining up to join World Logistics Passport, a new trading programme launched under the directive of Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE, and ruler of Dubai. 

But what is the initiative and why have companies like Sony, Johnson and Johnson, UPS and Pfizer already signed up? 

Launch of the World Logistics Passport 


The World Logistics Passport was launched in 2020 at the World Economic Forum in Davos, by Sheik Mohammed. It is aimed at increasing trade opportunities between emerging markets by combining the strengths of national trade organisations, logistics leaders and multinationals to from “a close knit alliance focused on trade growth”, according to Sheik Mohammed. 


It hopes to supercharge supply chain development and bridge the gaps between manufacturing hubs that are expanding across emerging markets, particularly in South East Asia and Africa. 

Brazil, Colombia, South Africa, India, Indonesia and Thailand were among the first nations to join the alliance in 2020. They have been joined in recent weeks by 10 further nations: Ethiopia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Burkina Faso, Guinea, Malaysia, Kenya, Paraguay and Ecuador. 

How does World Logistics Passport membership work?


The WLP is the world’s first freight loyalty scheme of its scale and type, and encourages local entities, freight forwarders and traders to provide additional trade in exchange for incentives. The initiative is split into a variety of tiers, which members join based upon criteria tied to their global influence and market leadership. They include silver, gold and platinum tiers, and members can unlock access to higher levels by meeting growth targets and outperforming the market. 

Initial membership structure

  • Global top trading companies - Identified by the WLP team, enjoy Platinum Tier benefits across all Hubs
  • Selected top trading companies - At the Hub level, identified by the local benefit providers and the WLP team, are registered immediately at the Silver Tier in the first year
  • Selected top trading companies - At the Gateway level, identified by the freight forwarders associations and the WLP team, are registered immediately at the Silver Tier in the closest Hub in the first year
  • Other companies join the WLP at the White Tier and can be upgraded by up to one Tier per year by reaching trade growth targets in consecutive years

Dubai’s Silk Road strategy 


The World Logistics Passport forms part of Dubai’s Silk Road strategy, a multi-decade endeavour launched in 2019 to promote and grow air and sea freight and bridge logistical gaps between emerging manufacturing and production hubs in emerging markets. 

Earlier this year, Sheikh Mohammed said: “The World Logistics Passport is yet another major initiative that reflects the UAE’s vision to shape a brighter future for our world through innovative programmes that foster global trade cooperation.” 

The group will today gather for the WLP Global Summit, the inaugural meeting for members. In a virtual live event, top speakers will share trends, welcome new members, and plot the future roadmap for the initiative. Lessons learned throughout the COVID-19 pandemic will be dissected, along with a vision for what the WLP will aim to accomplish over the coming 12 months. 

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Jun 21, 2021

Elon Musk's Boring Co. planning wider tunnels for freight

2 min
Elon Musk’s tunnelling firm plans underground freight tunnels with shipping containers moved on “battery-powered freight carriers”, according to reports

Elon Musk’s drilling outfit The Boring Company could be shifting its focus towards subterranean freight and logistics solutions, according to reports. 

A Boring Co. pitch deck seen and shared by Bloomberg depicts plans to construct wider tunnels designed to accommodate shipping containers. 

Founded by Tesla CEO Musk in 2016, the company initially stated its mission was to offer safer, faster point-to-point transport for people, particularly in cities plagued by traffic congestion. It also planned longer tunnels to ferry passengers between popular destinations across the US. 

The Boring Co. completed its first commercial project earlier this year in April. The 1.7m tunnel system is designed to move professionals between convention centres in Las Vegas using Tesla EVs. It says the Las Vegas Convention Centre Loop can cut travel time between venues from 45 minutes to just two. 


Boring Co.'s new freight tunnels

The Boring Co.'s new tunnel designs would allow freight to be transported on purpose built platforms, labelled as “battery-powered freight carriers”. The document shows that, though the containers could technically fit within its current 12-foot tunnels, wider tunnels would be more efficient. Designs for a new tunnel, 21 feet in diameter, show that they can comfortably accommodate two containers side-by-side, with a one-foot gap between them.

The Boring Co.’s new drilling machine, dubbed Prufrock, can tunnel at a rate of one mile per week, which is six times faster than its previous machine, and is designed to ‘porpoise’ - mimicking the marine animal by ‘diving’ below ground and reemerging once the tunnel is complete. 

Tesla’s supply chain woes 

Tesla is facing its own supply chain and logistic issues. The EV manufacturer has raised the price of its vehicles, with CEO Musk confirming the incremental hike was a result of “major supply chain pressure”. Musk replied to a disgruntled Twitter user, confused as to why prices were rising while features were being removed from the cars, saying the “raw materials especially” were a big issue. 

Elon Musk Tweet

Car manufacturing continues to be one of the industries hit hardest by a global shortage in semiconductor chips. While China’s chip manufacturing levels hit an all-time high in May, and the US is proposing a 25% tax credit for chip manufacturers, demand still outstrips supply. Automakers including Volkswagen and Audi have again said they expect reduced vehicle output in the next quarter due to a lack of semiconductors, with more factory downtime likely

Top Image credit: The Boring Company / @boringcompany

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