Abu Dhabi: Abu Dhabi Ports Company (ADPC), the master developer and manager of both commercial and community ports, and the Khalifa Industrial Zone Abu Dhabi (Kizad), announced on Sunday plans to support the growing cruise business at Zayed Port (Mina Zayed) in Abu Dhabi, ADPC said in a statement.
ADPC said that it has allocated the south-eastern end of the port berth, the end closest to Shaikh Khalifa Bridge, as an area to be developed specifically for cruise liners and passengers, noting that the new development will be a permanent terminal building and accommodate a traditional souq and heritage area with activities to entertain both passengers and the general public.
“The new space will offer an immediate increase in capacity for the forthcoming season and space for further expansion in the future. We have determined that the cruise liner terminal project will be divided into several phases,” said ADPC.
“Phase 1 will be completed for the start of this season [October 2013], offering accommodation for two large cruise ships and one small vessel. The following phases will be developed as appropriate according to market potential and demand,” ADPC pointed out.
No details about the costs or the exact designs or the contractors have been disclosed yet.
Mohammad Al Shamsi, acting CEO of ADPC, said that Zayed Port’s convenient central location makes it attractive to tour operators to increase the cruise business to the city.
Al Shamsi said that Zayed Port had been a major lifeline for Abu Dhabi’s import-export trade for more than 40 years.
“Now that all container traffic has shifted to Khalifa Port, the first semi-automated facility in the Middle East, we are looking forward to maximising Zayed Port’s capacity, allowing us to focus on a growing cruise line business and reinforcing Abu Dhabi’s position as a world class tourist destination,” said Al Shamsi.
For his part, Sultan Al Daheri, Director Tourism Eco-Systems, TCA Abu Dhabi, pointed out that the cruise terminal will help boost tourism sector in the emirate.
“These cruise terminal improvements will deliver a lasting first impression for disembarking passengers and will be a strong visual statement of our commitment to a sector which offers great growth potential,” said Al Daheri.
He added: “We believe the diversified shore excursions of the emerging Saadiyat Island Cultural District and our Unesco World Heritage sites in Al Ain will set us apart in a competitive regional market.”
Al Daheri stressed the coming Seatrade Middle East Forum in December will focus on demonstrating Abu Dhabi facilities and its passenger options.
“This will encourage the world’s leading cruise lines to consider Abu Dhabi as a seasonal home-port destination, and add Zayed Port to their itineraries as a regular port of call,” said Al Daheri.
ADPC figures for 2012/2013 show a total of 96 vessel calls and 155,000 passengers visited Zayed Port last season.