Abu Dhabi: The Abu Dhabi Urban Planning Council (UPC) officially handed over the Dh1.5 billion Mussafah channel project to the Abu Dhabi Ports Company (ADPC) on Tuesday.
The new channel replaces the existing access channel to the Mussafah Industrial Area.
Located off the south-western shoreline of Hudayriat Island, the 53km channel is expected to better serve the Mussafah Industrial Zone and the future ICAD areas.
The new channel, which required the dredging of 65 million cubic metres, has a minimum depth of nine metres at lowest astronomical tide and a minimum width of 200 metres.
It can accommodate two-way traffic of large Panamax-type bulk carriers.
"The increased depth of the new channel will provide greater economic opportunities to the existing Mussafah Industrial Zone by allowing a significant expansion of operations and penetration into the global markets, which will in turn have a positive impact on Abu Dhabi's economy," said Falah Al Ahbabi, General Manager of UPC.
Amer Al Hammadi, Regional Planning Manager at UPC, told Gulf News that the new channel will create the parameters for economic growth.
"We've paved the road for the infrastructure of activating the trade of Mussafah Port," he said.
"The number of vessels and ships depends on the growth of the economy."
Tony Douglas, Chief Executive Officer of ADPC, said that the channel will allow the companies occupying the industrial zone to grow.
Of Khalifa Port, Douglas told reporters that the port is 68 per cent complete and is scheduled to open during the fourth quarter of 2012, bringing "a world class gateway to Abu Dhabi."
"It's progressing extremely well," he said. "Ships already dock at the new Khalifa Port."
Since the channel passes through the Bul Sayeef Marine Protected Area, Habitat Island was created to compensate for the environmental damage caused by the dredging.