United Arab Emirates President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan formally inaugurated the AED 26.5 billion (USD 7.2 billion) Khalifa Port at 1200, 12/12/12.
President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan expressed his pride at the completion of projects that are of benefit to the citizens of the homeland and that strengthen the national economy, calling it a “new era” in the UAE’s maritime history.
He also said that the country provides the necessary support for the maritime transport industry, particularly Khalifa Port, which, when its future phases of construction have been completed, will become one of the most important ports for trade in the world, benefiting from the UAE’s strategic location as a link between the economic regions of the world.
”The opening of this flagship project strengthens our progress and will also contribute to the continuation of the high rate of growth witnessed by the UAE, meeting the aspirations of the country’s citizens for a significant base for the national economy,” the President said.
The Emirate’s and the UAE’s diversification of their economies away from dependence on oil was given a huge boost with today’s inauguration, which underlines the economic significance of Khalifa Industrial Zone Abu Dhabi (Kizad), the vast new industrial zone adjacent to Khalifa Port, which will grow into one of the world’s largest.
Within a generation, Khalifa Port and Kizad are set to account for up to 15 per cent of Abu Dhabi’s non-oil GDP, creating thousands of new jobs and critical skills aligned to the Emirate’s future economic plans.
The completion of the first phase of the new port – whose container terminal began commercial operations on September 1 – will give it the capacity to handle 50,000 containers a week and one million tons of cargo a month. Yet all freight movements are controlled by just a small team of skilled operators based in a state-of-the-art control centre, setting a new global benchmark in port technology.
A powerful mix of sustainability and low operating costs is already driving new levels of interest in the development. The combination of Khalifa Port and Kizad has proved very attractive to global business and today’s inauguration is expected to create even further growth.
Much of that global business interest, reflected in the number of international industrialists attending today’s inauguration ceremony, is focused on Kizad’s specialist business ‘clusters.’
The 418 square kilometre industrial zone features infrastructure designed specifically to accommodate the needs of key sectors targeted for future growth such as aluminium, steel, engineered metals, petrochemicals, chemicals, food, paper, print and packaging, logistics and warehousing and glass.
Raw materials arriving at Khalifa Port will move seamlessly to each cluster. TEU container traffic has now fully moved to Khalifa Port, from Mina Zayed, boosting logistical ties between the port and industrial zone.
Dr Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, Chairman, ADPC said: “Khalifa Port and Kizad offer global businesses an unbeatable combination of low operating costs, access to global markets and an environment which makes doing business easy. These place Khalifa Port and Kizad in a strong position to make a major contribution towards sustainable economic growth and diversity, as well as creating countless, high skilled careers for UAE nationals.”
Khalifa Port and Kizad provide access to two billion people within four time zones, three international airports within a 90-minute drive, purpose built express highways and a direct Etihad Rail link planned for 2016. In addition, businesses enjoy a tax free environment in a nation which was recently cited by the World Bank as one of the easiest with which to do business.
HE Dr Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, Chairman, Abu Dhabi Ports Company, speaks during the opening ceremony of Khalifa Port, next to Khalifa Industrial Zone Abu Dhabi (Kizad) ( Ryan Carter / Crown Prince’s Court – Abu Dhabi)