Sarah Al Amiri briefed on advanced technology projects at Mena’s largest paper plant.
Sarah Bint Yousef Al Amiri, UAE Minister of State for Public Education and Advanced Technology, visited Ittihad Paper Mill (IPM) at ICAD II in Abu Dhabi Industrial City, where she was briefed on the factory’s advanced digital production processes.
IPM is the first industrial facility of its kind in the Arabian Gulf and has the biggest paper production capacity in the Mena region. IPM exports its products to some 70 markets around the world, most notably the United States and in Europe.
She was welcomed by Amer Kakish, CEO of Ittihad International Investment, Abdullah Al Khateeb, IPM’s General Manager, and Rabih El Assadi, Director of Operations at IPM. Al Amiri was briefed on plans to expand production using advanced technology, as well as by accelerating digitalisation and enabling and adopting Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) solutions.
Al Amiri was also briefed on IPM’s efforts to meet local demand for paper products and boost exports and competitiveness across global markets through adopting advanced technology and 4IR solutions. She was also briefed on IPM’s R&D and its impact on enhancing the competitiveness of UAE products in regional and global markets.
Al Amiri said: “The ministry launched the Fourth Industrial Revolution programme, UAE Industry 4.0 as part of the Projects of the 50. The programme stems from the UAE Government’s efforts to stimulate innovation and adopt advanced technology in industrial systems and value chains.”
“Our delegation witnessed first-hand IPM’s ability to overcome major challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic by deploying digitisation and automation, which contributed to reducing operating costs and increasing productivity to meet demand. These efforts align with the UAE’s drive towards having a smart industrial sector empowered by advanced technology, with high-quality products and characterised by strong regional and global competitiveness,” Al Amiri added.
Abdullah Al Khateeb, IPM’s General Manager, commented: “IPM began its permanent operations in 2020, with an investment of Dhs1.2 billion. We have a UAE-based industrial facility that meets increasing demand for paper products locally, regionally, and globally. IPM is based in the UAE’s capital, Abu Dhabi, within ICAD II, and therefore benefits from world-class logistics infrastructure. We have become the first industrial facility of its kind in the Gulf region, with the largest production capacity in the Mena region at 320,000 tonnes of writing and printing paper.”
Al Khateeb continued: “Production started at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, which was followed by numerous global crises that elevated the costs of raw materials. But this led to opportunities for factories with high capacity, operational efficiency and quick lead times. We capitalized on these opportunities by adopting advanced technology solutions, digitisation, 4IR solutions and sustainable models. We have successfully overcome these challenges and are currently exporting our products to 70 markets.”
Amer Kakish said: “IPM is one of many industrial investments led by Ittihad International Investment, and it complements the company’s strategy to invest in the paper industry. Ittihad also owns a 100,000 tone sanitary paper mill. The company is expanding its portfolio with new acquisitions that will be announced in the next few months.”
Ittihad is working towards establishing a cardboard mill in the UAE with a capacity of 300,000 tonnes and a Kraft paper mill with a capacity of 100,000 tonnes. These planned investments total around Dhs2 billion.
The Ittihad Group encompasses seven industrial facilities: Crown Paper Mill, Ittihad Paper Mill, National Cement Factory, Ittihad Gulf Limited (in Saudi Arabia), Union Chemicals Factory, Union Copper Rod, and Union Rebar Factory.
The company has automated operations in most of these industrial facilities by using the SAP Business Process Management solution and advanced technology solutions, especially in manufacturing and supply chain management.
About the Ministry of Industry and Advanced Technology The UAE’s Ministry of Industry and Advanced Technology (MoIAT), established in July 2020, is mandated with strengthening the UAE’s industrial sector, specifically by accelerating the adoption of advanced technologies and Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) solutions across the value chain.
MoIAT has three overarching goals: Strengthening the UAE’s industrial base, ensuring in country value, and raising the competitiveness of local industries. By enhancing the contribution of advanced technology, the Ministry will support the country’s sustainable economic growth, and ensure GDP contribution from the industry sector.
The Ministry will draft policies, laws and programmes to create a world-class industrial development framework for the nation that will help attract foreign direct investment, boost In-Country Value creation, support national entrepreneurship, drive job creation, and boost exports of ‘Made in UAE’ products.