There are more than 400 healthcare and pharmaceutical entities registered with JAFZA. These entities and the cluster they are part of pulled their weight during the Covid times. Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: The Jebel Ali Free Zone’s focus on moulding a healthcare hub within in the pre-Covid years continues to pay off.

In the last four years, the free zone’s healthcare cluster had a seven-fold increase in trade value in terms of exports. In 2021, these companies accounted for nearly half of Dubai’s total trade volume for pharmaceutical and healthcare products. The same year, pharmaceutical products and healthcare instruments worth Dh3.8 billion were imported, up 15 per cent from 2020.

The Top 10 import sources were France, Germany, the US, Switzerland, Italy, UK, Spain, India, China, and Japan. These countries contributed to 78 per cent of the overall imports of JAFZA-based companies.

During the peak of the Covid phase, these infrastructure and networks delivered their worth. As a case in point, in 2021, DP World partnered UNICEF to accelerate the distribution of vaccines using JAFZA facilities to ‘optimise critical supply access for countries most under pressure from the pandemic’.

As a one-stop-destination for the healthcare sector, JAFZA hosts 412 healthcare and pharmaceutical companies from 60 countries. The free zone also offers purpose-built facilities to bio-hazard waste management.

“JAFZA also provides an ecosystem that promotes easy business set-up,” the statement added.

With the help of Imperial Logistics, a DP World company, operates a medical solutions hub in the free zone, through which customers can distribute quality medical and pharmaceutical products to communities in Europe, Africa, and Asia.

The four features of JAFZA’s healthcare and pharmaceuticals hub are:

  • Companies manufacturing vaccines, specialty and general medicines, medical and life sciences technology, analytical equipment and instruments, consumables and accessories, pharma products, and more can use the ready-made facilities, approved by the UAE Ministry of Health and Prevention. The availability of logistics operators providing cold-chain services to regional markets and third-party logistics (3PL) companies is another benefit.
  • There are more than 120 logistics and freight service providers operating in the healthcare sector in the free zone, which combined moved 5,800 metric tonnes of goods worth Dh272 million in 2021.
  • The proximity to the Jebel Ali Port, the region’s largest port, and Al Maktoum International Airport helps healthcare customers offer undisrupted trade connectivity to all major destinations.
  • The UAE Edge: Companies in JAFZA benefit from 100 per cent business ownership, 0 per cent corporate tax and access to competitive utilities and labour.