Supply Chain Disruptions Lead to “Very Different World,” Panelists Tell Business Council and Standard Chartered Luncheon

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November 13, 2021

Senior executive leadership from Mohebi Logistics, Emirates Airline, and Standard Chartered shared insights on the impact of the covid pandemic, global supply chain disruptions, and the future sustainability of supply chains during a high level discussion in Dubai, moderated by Danny Sebright, President of the U.S.-U.A.E. Business Council, on behalf of Standard Chartered Bank. This panel discussion, which followed a luncheon with C-suite executives, occured during the visit of Saif Malik, Head of Global Subsidiaries at Standard Chartered Bank,  and follows Standard Chartered’s release of a report on sustainable supply chains, which can be found here.  A recording of this discussion can be found here. 

Rola Abu Manneh, CEO of Standard Chartered U.A.E., welcomed guests and provided an overview of the session, telling the audience that Covid has disrupted global supply chains and business must work to address these challenges. 

Nabil Sultan, Divisional Senior Vice President for Cargo at Emirates Airline described efforts by Emirates to overcome unprecedented challenges due to the pandemic. He detailed action undertaken by Emirates to prop up supply chains and logistics to ensure the livelihood of people in the region. The transformation of passenger aircraft into cargo-only aircraft provided a lifeline to billions of people around the world, as Emirates  transported essential commodities and lifesaving materials to combat the pandemic. He detailed the myriad reasons for current supply chain challenges, adding that the biggest challenge with the disruption of supply chains is a human one, and the backload will be resolved faster with more human capital expenditure.


Mr. Mohammed Mohebi, President & Chairman of Mohebi Logistics, detailed the measures his organization quickly took at the very outset of the pandemic to continue to fulfill its crucial role as one of the largest vertically integrated supply chain management companies in the Middle East. Mr. Mohebi also spoke of his company’s goal in ensuring that U.A.E. citizens and residents did not face the shortages that other countries faced worldwide amidst the pandemic. Mr. Mohebi elaborated on what he believes will be a fundamental shift in the way companies and organizations structure themselves going forward involving greater localization of production and smaller plants. He also shared his belief that associated price increases in the logistics supply chain will inevitably be passed to consumers.

Saif Malik, Head of Global Subsidiaries at Standard Chartered Bank,  spoke about how SCB “turbocharged” initiatives to ensure financial systems can help maintain global supply chains amidst the pandemic.  Saif discussed the greater diversification of global supply chains as a result of the pandemic, the increased importance of AI technologies in managing supply chains, and the role that government will play moving forward in securing key supply chain infrastructure.

Shada El Borno, Managing Director, U.A.E. and MENA Global Banking, added that there is a behavior change due to the pandemic, and that people now place sustainability front and center, and that conscious behavior has led to a concerted effort to be greener. Shada stated that the market will want to ensure that every part of the value chain leads to a sustainable end product. Financial institutions and others will need to genuinely change the way they work to ensure sustainability. 

Distinguished guests from Boeing, Ford, Honeywell, and Shell shared their own valuable perspectives on this critical and timely topic, as well as the role their organizations are playing in helping create more sustainable supply chains.

Sustainability is a key goal which the U.A.E. will continue to push for businesses and infrastructure. With COP28 set to be held in the country, these efforts will only grow in importance. 

For more information on the Business Council‘s ongoing activities in sustainability and logistics, please contact Graham Reitman at greitman@usuaebusiness.org