Dubai: Ras Al Khaimah Free Trade Zone (RAK FTZ) is investing in new infrastructure as part of expansion plans to meet burgeoning demand and capture new segments for the emirate.
Master planning to incorporate a health care segment into the academic park is underway with construction to start in the first half of 2016, Peter Fort, chief executive, told Gulf News in an interview on Monday.
The health care segment will include nursing schools, labs and wellness facilities to support the emirate’s flagship Shaikh Khalifa Specialised Hospital, which Fort said is “opening in the next year”.
The Dh1 billion flagship hospital was funded by a grant from His Highness Shaikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the President of the UAE and Ruler of Abu Dhabi, according to reports.
The location of the health care segment has not been finalised, Fort said.
RAK FTZ, owned by the Ras Al Khaimah government, is also looking to attract more international schools to the UAE’s northern emirate with India’s Birla Institute already present in the RAK FTZ’s academic park.
Fort said discussions are underway with Birla Institute to “dramatically increase the size of their facility.” He declined to state which schools it was targeting.
Bringing international schools to the UAE is not new; Abu Dhabi hosts international campuses of Paris-Sorbonne and New York University. Dubai hosts the University of Wollongong, among others.
The technology park, which handles light manufacturing, is set for an immediate expansion with 100 warehouses to start being delivered from November 1.
Fort said RAK FTZ, which also includes an industrial park and business park, is in the process of looking at additional land with current occupancy at “close to 100 per cent.” RAK FTZ has more than 7500 companies across more than 50 segments, according to its publicly available information.
Fort said all immediate expansion plans are self-funded and that RAK FTZ is currently debt-free. Fort, who is also a senior economic adviser to the RAK government, declined to state the FTZ’s financial results. However, he said it is profitable.