Abu Dhabi The UAE's eight ports handle 61 per cent of the GCC's trade, a top UAE official said Wednesday.
Abu Dhabi Ports Company (ADPC) yesterday said that it would open Khalifa Port and the adjacent industrial zone — Khalifa Industrial Zone Abu Dhabi (Kizad) — for business in the fourth quarter of this year. Kizad, located in Taweelah between Abu Dhabi and Dubai cities — already is the site of Emirates Aluminium.
Dr Sultan Ahmad Al Jaber, Chairman of ADPC, said: "Today, ports in the UAE account for 61 per cent of the trade volume among GCC countries, having seen a 13 per cent annual growth in volume in recent years and growth projections remain positive. With this remarkable, fast-paced growth, ports are striving to be more competitive, efficient and productive for their customers." ADPC announced the arrival of the first batch of Super Post Panamax ship to shore (STS) container cranes at Khalifa Port. This marks a significant milestone for the port as it readies for Phase 1 completion at the same time as the opening of Kizad in the fourth quarter of this year.
"Today is a defining moment in its development into a world renowned port, and an engineering wonder of the world. I look forward to celebrating many more such milestones as we head towards completion later this year," Ahmad said.
Kizad is a 417 square km industrial zone strategically located between Abu Dhabi and Dubai. With one of the world's most advanced deepwater seaports and world-class infrastructure, Kizad will benefit from excellent multimodal connectivity via sea, air, road and rail networks to ensure easy accessibility.
Phase 1, which is 51 square km, is being developed with an investment of Dh26.5 billion ($7.2 billion).
Kizad is a cornerstone of the Abu Dhabi Economic Vision 2030, which also highlights the drive to diversify the economy in pursuit of sustainable growth, away from the oil and gas industries.
By 2030, Kizad will be expected to contribute up to 15 per cent of Abu Dhabi's non-oil GDP.
The completion of Khalifa Port will play an instrumental role in contributing to a sustainable and growing economy.
"The development of seaports has been an established part of Abu Dhabi's history, beginning with Mina Zayed, which has been Abu Dhabi's focal port for more than 30 years," a spokesperson said.
"The significant growth in demand and the necessity for handling more containers and bigger vessels faster paved the way for the evolution of a new state-of-the-art port in Abu Dhabi that will be able to meet the business demands of local, regional and international markets."
Mohammad Al Shamsi, ADPC Vice President of Ports Operations, said: "Khalifa Port is destined to be a world class competitive port and a leader in its field. It will be the region's first semi-automated port, the first to factor in rail freight, and it will be able to accommodate the largest container ships at sea. Phase 1 of the port is now 95 per cent complete, and the arrival of these cranes signals that we are now on the home straight."
Benefits: Unique distinction
On completion in the fourth quarter of this year, the flagship Khalifa Port will be the first semi-automated port in the region. It is equipped to handle an initial capacity of 2 million TEU container traffic and 12 million tons of general cargo annually. The port's strategic location also serves as an enabler for Kizad, offering the industrial zone's tenants easy access to global markets.
The arrival of the three STS cranes which, at 44 metres high under the spreader and a lifting capacity of 110 tonnes, are among the largest of their kind in the world, signify that completion of the port is well on schedule. The Chinese company Shanghai Zhenhua Heavy Industries Co. Ltd (ZPMC), which designed and constructed the cranes, is due to deliver a second batch of three cranes in the second quarter.