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First phase of Khalifa Port will be completed this year

More than 25% of top 500 companies use UAE as regional hub

Gulf News

Abu Dhabi: Phase one of Abu Dhabi's Dh26.2 billion Khalifa Port will be completed by the end of this year.

Mohammad Al Shamsi, Vice-President of Ports Operations at Abu Dhabi Ports Company (ADPC), said the second phase of the project will begin in 2013. No exact date was given.

"About 96 per cent of Phase I of Khalifa Port has been completed so far. Once completed, the port will add 2 million TEUs (twenty-foot equivalent units) of containerised and 12 million tonnes of general cargo capacity," said Al Shamsi.

Speaking at the launch of the agenda for 2nd World Ports and Trade Summit which will be held in Abu Dhabi from today to Wednesday, Al Shamsi said that the area of phase one will be 52 square kilometres and cost Dh26.2 billion.

No slowdown

Al Shamsi remarked that port activities in the Gulf did not slow down over the past two years.

"Seaport activities in Abu Dhabi increased in 2011 by 47 per cent compared to 2010. More than 767,000 containers were handled in 2010 compared to 800,000 containers in 2011," he said.

Meanwhile, experts said that the UAE has become a regional hub for more than 25 per cent of the world's top 500 companies.

"There are more than $46 billion (Dh168 billion) commitments in the Mena region spent on 35 ports," said Chris Hayman, chairman of Seatrade Communications.

"This is quite a big figure and is a very strong indicator of future prospects for investments in seaports and trade as more than 90 per cent of goods is shipped by sea," he said.

Michael Vertigans, vice-president of corporate communications at ADPC, told Gulf News that Khalifa Port would stand out from the UAE's other ports.

"Khalifa Port is different from Mina Zayed and from Jebel Ali Port. Zayed Port cannot be expanded more and the containers coming to Zayed Port will be transferred to Khalifa Port once opened. Jebel Ali Port is for commercial purposes and for re-export businesses while Khalifa Port is for industrial purposes," he said.