GWC’s inaugural industry forum lauded as ‘mega success’
November 17 2021 08:01 PM
Jose Dhooma, head of Events Logistics at FIFA, delivering the keynote speech.
Jose Dhooma, head of Events Logistics at FIFA, delivering the keynote speech.


GWC, the Official Host Nation Logistics Provider of the 2022 FIFA World Cup, recently hosted a virtual forum with industry experts who shared their insights on the scale of logistics operation that takes place behind-the-scenes during mega sporting events and showcasing highlights on the preparations for the World Cup, which will create new benchmarks not only for the region but for the entire world.
Jose Dhooma, head of Events Logistics at FIFA, delivered the keynote speech on ‘Logistics is Everywhere’. He said, “There has never been a more apt time to talk about logistics as it is in the forefront. In one year’s time, it will be the start of 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar, the eyes of the world will be here watching us, which is the biggest single sporting event in the world, with a viewing audience of 3.6bn persons and 1.2mn spectators, as the tournament will be held for the first-time history in the Muslim and Arab world.”
Dhooma discussed the positive local transformation that takes place as a result of hosting mega-events, like the improved infrastructure that he saw in his hometown as a result of the Olympics. Additionally, noting that mega-events demonstrate to the world, the capability and competency of a country, which in turn brings investment.
He also took part alongside Kirsten de Bruijn, senior vice president Cargo Sales and Network Planning at Qatar Airways; Mark Novack, HC Event Logistics assistant director at the Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy; and Matthew Phelps, general manager at GWC, to discuss as a panel the challenges and successes that they faced as industry leaders, producing mega-events.
Novack said, “We have been working with the local authorities on how we can simplify procedures, partnering closely with FIFA, and a number of other stakeholders to identify what they need, and identify what the current law allows, and where those gaps are.”
Phelps said, “A main challenge is congestion. We have spoken about the 1.2mn people coming to Qatar. We talked about all of the physical pieces of technology coming in. But GWC is prepared, we’ve been working on events since 2010 so we’ve had this gradual build-up to the upcoming crescendo.
“The immense challenge here is not just getting spectators in place for a short period of time, but a very busy period of time where people will experience Qatar and enjoy their time and so working with the authorities to do that is very important to us. It’s an interesting logistics challenge.”
Bruijn said, “After shut down we adapted our processes rapidly in order to continue to fly, and I think that’s what we’ve shown throughout the last two years is that we never stopped. We always say that Qatar Airways didn’t know any borders because we continued to fly and even now we are travelling to 140 destinations. So the connectivity of our network remained the strength throughout all the challenges that we had.”
The second panel included Laila al-Jefairi, vice president of Business Development at Qatar Financial Centre; Bader al-Madhadi, Investment Promotion lead at Qatar Free Zone Authority; Lauri Becquart, head of Retail & Private Holdings at Google Cloud; and Hamdan Merchant, senior director – Innovation, IT & BPI at GWC who focused their conversation around transformation and what is making the region ever attractive for investments.
Al-Madhadi said, “To host such big events, it shows the world the potential and the infrastructure that we have. For such big events to succeed we have the right institutions in place to support them. From our side, we try to be part of this success.”
Merchant said, “Now is a great time to invest in technology, invest in real estate, and invest in processes. This is a perfect time to get all the boxes checked, and help the country move forward.”
Becquart said, “One of the core places where we actually try to help and solve those challenges is automation. In order to become automated, you need a data strategy. And this is where Google and Google Cloud are helping that build up in the region.”
The forum had two workshops. The first delved into GWC’s large-scale execution of Logistics for the World Cup, led by Syed Maaz, Chief Business Development officer at GWC, in tandem with a second workshop addressing the importance of sustainability in Qatar’s infrastructure, led by Meshal al-Shamari, director at Qatar Green Building Council.
To view the forum, visit

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