Abu Dhabi: Abu Dhabi Ports has signed a 30-year concession agreement with MSC Mediterranean Shipping Company, a Swiss-based global transportation and logistics firm to establish a new container terminal at Khalifa Port with a total investment of Dh4 billion.

“This agreement comes with multiple strategic benefits to customers and companies working shipping and logistics, including faster and more efficient services, easier access to more markets in the region and the world,” Captain Mohammad Juma Al Shamisi, chief executive officer of Abu Dhabi Ports, said in a statement on Monday.

MSC will invest a total of Dh4 billion over the life of a concession agreement in operational equipment, including increasing the current 12 ship-to-shore cranes to make a total of 25 of some of the most technologically advanced cranes in the world, over the next two years.

Deepening the berths, making Khalifa Port the first port in the region capable of receiving the largest shipping vessels in the world that specialise in bulk cargo shipment, will also be taken up as part of the concession.

Al Shamisi added that Abu Dhabi Ports has successfully attracted two of the world’s largest companies in the field of shipping and container handling to develop a regional hub at Khalifa Port.

“These agreements cement the UAE and Abu Dhabi’s position as a global trading, shipping and logistics hub. This agreement will also promote economic growth and increased investment through the rise in container traffic,” stated Dr Sultan Ahmad Al Jaber, UAE Minister of State and Chairman of Abu Dhabi Ports, who witnessed the signing alongside a number of high ranking officials.

MSC operates 480 offices across 150 countries worldwide, while its shipping line sails on more than 200 trade routes, calling in at 500 ports.

The company plans to gradually shift some of its container handling in the region to Khalifa Port, starting July 2018, which is set to increase the port’s capacity from 2.5 million twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) in 2017 to 5.3 million TEUs by 2020 making it one of the top 25 ports worldwide in the field of handling containers, starting next year.

“Over the past five years, Khalifa Port has been recognised as one of the most modern and technologically advanced ports in the region and the world. Such achievements during a record period confirm the success of UAE plans and strategies and the contribution of public and private sectors in building an economy based on solid foundations that in return offers promising opportunities,” Al Jaber said.