cruise ships
Busy times... A return fro cruise ships and terminals buzzing with activity should commence from the third quarter, if everything goes to plan. Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: The Fujairah terminal will be ready to host the first cruise ships since the pandemic from the third quarter of this year. The other major ports in the UAE too will be ready by then as the global cruise market charts a way back to winning back its passengers.

"We are waiting for some announcement in the coming weeks related to the cruise services," said Saif Al Mazrouei, Head of Ports Cluster, Abu Dhabi Ports. "That will be very soon.”

Despite the impact of the pandemic on cruise demand, Abu Dhabi Ports has continued to work closely with Fujairah, which it manages, to "develop its capabilities in facilitating the arrival of cruise vessels," said a top executive. The revival of the cruise industry - a pillar of travel and tourism for Dubai in particular - was hit by a new wave of lockdowns and travel restrictions in Europe, which is the biggest source for passengers.

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Back on track

"We are determined to advance Fujairah cruise business, and we are taking bold steps in transforming facilities to ensure we are becoming a leading cruise destination in the region," said Abdulaziz Mubarak Al Balooshi, CEO of Fujairah Terminals, Abu Dhabi Ports.

While UAE’s travel and tourism is dominated by its airlines, hotels and leisure destinations, the cruise industry too has played a significant role. The Fujairah cruise terminal saw 8,000 passengers in 2019 and it was expected to hit 13,000 in 2020 before COVID-19 dealt a major blow to the sector.

Now, Al Balooshi hopes to "double" these numbers in the coming seasons. "We are very optimistic."

Fujairah cargo terminal in Dh1b upgrade
Abu Dhabi Ports has completed the Dh1 billion expansion of its Fujairah cargo terminal. This will increase throughput to 1.3 million tonnes and container traffic capacity to 720,000 TEU (twenty-foot equivalent unit).

"Over the past few years, we have invested heavily in several development projects aimed at increasing not just the terminal’s cargo handling capacity, but its ability to handle specific types of cargo as well," said Abdulaziz Mubarak Al Balooshi, CEO of Fujairah Terminals, Abu Dhabi Ports.
"These investments have had an enormous impact on general cargo capacity, increasing what we can handle by more than a million tonnes," said Al Balooshi.

Located on the UAE’s eastern coast outside the Strait of Hormuz, and providing a strategic link between east and west, Fujairah Terminals lies in proximity to one of the largest bunkering hubs in the world. It is set to connect directly to an upcoming intermodal link with the soon-to-be completed Etihad Rail project.