Jazfa in 2006 Image Credit: Gulf News Archives

Jebel Ali Free Zone (Jafza), one of the world’s largest free zones specialised in industry, trade and logistics, has played a pivotal role in inviting international partners to the country, and in so doing creating a community of trust and smooth functioning that has resulted in a boost to the economy of both Dubai and the UAE. Jafza, which was established in 1985 with 19 companies, grew to house more than 500 in 1995, and more than 7,500 today, which includes nearly a 100 Global Fortune 500 enterprises.

Currently, the area that plays home to businesses, production houses, storage units and berth to a number of shipping lines contributes almost 23.9 per cent of total Foreign Direct Investment in the country.

Over a sprawling 1.58 million sqm, the free zone generates about 150,000 jobs in the UAE. In 2018, Jafza generated trade worth $93 billion (Dh341 million). And in the year before that The Port and Free Zone accounted for 33.4 per cent and 10.7 per cent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of Dubai and the UAE respectively.

An aerial view of the Jebel Ali Port DP world (JAFZA). The OPUS Terminal Operating System (TOS) for Terminal 3 when completed will add 4 million TEU in additional capacity to Jebel Ali Image Credit: Asghar Khan/ Gulf News Archives

How many companies call Jafza home?

Jafza is home to more than 7,500 companies with more than 135,000 employees. The Jafza team is 6,347 strong.

Of these, there are 529 companies from the food and beverage production industry that hail from over 67 countries. Based in Jebel Ali for manufacturing and production are companies such as Nestle, Mars, Unilever, PepsiCo, Kraft Foods, Heinz, McCormick, Don, Griffith Foods, Hunter Foods, Bayara, Al Khaleej Sugar, Alokozay Group of Companies, Gulf Food Industries, California Garden, Fonterra and Mister Baker.

These comprise local, GCC and international firms. There are around 22 US companies, 28 British, seven German and 13 French.

Where is Jazfa located?

Jafza is located alongside the region’s largest deep sea port in Jebel Ali. It is adjacent to the Dubai Expo 2020 site.

Jafza location
A look at Jafza on Google maps Image Credit: Google

Getting there

Distance from airports: Jafza is located 40km from Dubai international Airport and 24km from Al Maktoum International Airport.

Jafza bus
Transport in Jafza Image Credit: Twitter/RTA

By road: It’s accessible on all major highways such as the E11 and E311. Busses, cars and the Dubai Metro Red Line can be used to get there as well.

How much space does it occupy?

It offers 1.58 million sqm in combined facilities. This includes 1.5 million sqm plots; 8,800 sqm office/workstations; and 15,6000sqm of warehouses.

Jafza GDP contribution

Jafza facilitated trade worth $93 billion (Dh341.3 billion) in 2018.

In that year, free zones accounted for 36 per cent of the UAE’s non-oil foreign trade, data from the Federal Customs Authority shows.

At about Dh592.4 billion in value, the total represented a 5 per cent year-on-year increase over the same period in 2017. The Port and Free Zone accounted for 33.4 per cent and 10.7 per cent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of Dubai and the UAE respectively in 2017.

Solar Parking of Jafza 17 building at Jebel Ali, DP World, Dubai. Image Credit: Gulf News Archives

What are the top traded commodities that go through the freezone?

By volume: Oil and gas; metal, steel and construction; chemicals; food and beverages; livestock and agriculture; automotive and transport.

By value: Electronics and electrical; oil and gas; automotive and transport; retail; general trading; machinery and equipment.

Here’s a list of activities allowed in the space.

Who makes sure things are going according to book in Jafza?

Control bodies are available in Jafza round the clock. These include Dubai Customs; Ministry of Health and Prevention; Dubai Municipality; Environment, Health and Safety Division of the Department of Planning and Development - Trakhees at the Ports Customs and Free Zone Corporation; and other entities. (Trakhees is the regulatory arm of Ports, Customs and Free Zone Corporation (PCFC) in Dubai and the authority responsible for licensing and regulating businesses in special development zones and areas.)

In co-ordination with the Emirates Authority for Standardization and Metrology, ‘ESMA’, Jafza is tasked with implementing inspection and control regulations over manufacturing in the UAE and the products manufactured for export to the GCC and some foreign countries.

Quality certifications

Jebel Ali applies the highest quality management standards and was the first in the Middle East to successfully implement the Regional Security Management System standards. Jebel Ali obtained not only the ISO 28000: 2007 certification 13 years ago but also a certificate from the United Nations Department of Safety and Security (UNDSS). It was the first to receive a five-star certificate from the European Foundation for Quality Management (EFQM).

Jafza quality
Jafza has always been about checks and balances Image Credit: Gulf News Archives

Jebel Ali obtained more than 14 certificates of conformity including the ISO 9001:2015 Quality Management System, ISO 10002:2014 Customer Complaint Management and ISO 14001:2015 Environmental Management System. Jebel Ali was also the first in the Middle East to obtain the ISO 45001:2018 Occupational Health and Safety Management System.

What are the different types of licences available in Jafza?

1. Setting up a company with multiple shareholders.

• In this case 2 or more individuals, or 2 or more companies, or a combination of the two – up to 50 individuals can be a part of it.

• An FZCo is a limited liability partnership within the Free Zone, with liabilities limited to paid-up capital.

2. Setting up a company with a single shareholder. This is an FZE (Free Zone Establishment), which is a limited liability partnership within the Free Zone, with liabilities limited to paid-up capital.

3. Setting up a branch for an already existing company: In this case the firm would have to be 100 per cent owned by the parent firm, operate under the same name and in the same business.

4. Setting up an Offshore Company: Has a minimum of one shareholder. The maximum number of partners isn’t specified. Such a company is a limited liability partnership within the Free Zone, with liabilities limited to paid-up capital.

Documents needed to set up a business

Jafza One

This complex is at the heart of Jafza One. The commercial property has more than 1,200 offices with leasable space across more than 100,000 sqm. It has a 1,500sqm exhibition hall withy a 1,000sqm sub-divisible banquet hall.

There is also on-site conference and meeting rooms; a 600-seat auditorium; business centre; and food court.

Parking: 4,000 car park facility.

At Jafza One, you can operate under Jafza or DED License.

Development solutions on site

Long-term lease: Designed, built and delivered as per customer spec for a specific period of time.

Ownership: Designed, built and delivered as per customer spec.

Development management: Jafza helps plan and execute the development of building.

What can you rent in Jafza?

Plots available plus rental expectation: Annual Rent (/sq.m /year): Dh40 to Dh100. Minimum Leaseable Area: 5,000sqm

Warehouses: Jafza offers pre-built warehouses for storage and light manufacturing activities. These warehouses are thermally insulated purpose-built units available on a rental basis and are fitted with office space. Units vary in size from 313sqm to 1,110sqm. Floor load capacity of 5 tons per sqm.

Worker accommodations available

There are over 4,850 rooms in Jafza North and over 4,600 rooms in Jafza South within close proximity to mosques, shops, supermarkets, laundry services, tennis court, volleyball court, football court and cricket court.

Jafza Traders’ Market

This mega project was launched earlier this year. The traders market will be built along Shaikh Mohammad Bin Zayed Road opposite to Expo Dubai, over an initial area of 20 million square feet, and the total area is expected to cover 60 million square feet.The area, once fully operational will include showrooms, retail, warehousing, offices, hotels, and residential units.

The Market will offer 100 per cent foreign ownership, 100 per cent foreign repatriation of capital and profits; and no restrictions on number of workers . The first agreement was signed with the Chinese company Yiwu, which will invest $2.4 billion in the project while the second agreement was signed with the China-Arab investment Fund, which will invest $1 billion to implement a 'vegetable basket' project in Dubai.

This information has been provided by sources at DP World