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Khalifa Port in trial phase for upcoming opening in September

Multi-billion dollar project will be able to handle up to 5m TEUs in its first phase alone

The Khalifa Port
Image Credit: Gulf News Archive
The Khalifa Port has been primarily designed to accommodate Mina Zayed’s traffic and Abu Dhabi’s trade growth.

Abu Dhabi: Khalifa Port, the new upcoming port for the emirate which is adjacent to the Khalifa Industrial Zone Abu Dhabi, or Kizad, is currently undergoing operational testing before its official opening on September 1 of this year.

Khalifa Port, a multi-billion dollar investment, has been primarily designed to accommodate Mina Zayed’s traffic and Abu Dhabi’s trade growth, as well as, move truck traffic away from the city.

“Abu Dhabi had to find a new location to build board capacity,” said Martijn Van de Linde, Chief Executive Officer of Abu Dhabi Terminals told Gulf News.

The Port, which will be purely an industrial business, will have a capacity that is at least six times larger than that of Mina Zayed’s today, he said.

In its first phase alone, the port will be able to handle about 2.5 million TEU (Twenty foot Equivalent container Units), which can go up to 5 million, plus 15 million tons of general cargo. Once the second and third phases come online, Linde expects the port to have a capacity of up to 15 million containers a year.

However, ADT doesn’t expect the port to reach its full capacity in its early stages.

“We expect to be utilising the first phase to full capacity within the first five years from opening,” he said.

Besides capacity, the new port will be able to house ships with a draft that is up to 16 metres long, which is the biggest vessel today. “Here in Mina Zayed, we cannot handle shipping with a draft more than 12 metres,” Linde said.

Once it is in operation, vessels will be able to sail directly to the UAE, doing without several stops, which would ultimately lower the cost of transport, he explained.

This will drive down the cost of trade which will positively affect the economy of Abu Dhabi, making it more competitive.

The productivity at Khalifa Port will also be much higher; vessels will tend to stay in the port for shorter periods of time compared to those at Mina Zayed, he explained.

“Here the biggest vessel we can handle is probably about 250 metres long. In Khalifa Port we can handle vessels longer than 400 metres,” he said. “The new port has been equipped to be a semi-automated container terminal, one of very few automated ports in the world.”

Container movement will be controlled at the port via an automated system.

It’s the kind of job that Linde said employees have been training for almost a year.

While the project will be coming online in three phases, ADT has said that the launch of the second and third phase would heavily depend on the utilisation of the first phase.