Nearly four years after it first opened for business, Abu Dhabi’s vast Khalifa Port container terminal is to be expanded to accommodate the world’s largest ships.
Abu Dhabi Ports, the government-owned company that runs the US$7 billion terminal, has announced plans to expand the port’s quay wall so that it can handle more cargo and to dredge the port to make it two metres deeper.
In a statement on Saturday, Abu Dhabi Ports said that it planned to build 1,000 metres of quay wall, adding 600,000 square metres of space for cargo handling and deepen its main channel and basin to 18 metres from the current 16 metres.
The company has signed a contract with the National Marine Dredging Company (NMDC) to start preparatory work on dredging the channels and using this material to build the new quay wall and a yard behind it.
The work, which will involve 250 workers, is scheduled to be completed in mid 2018.
“This ambitious expansion is crucial to ensuring Abu Dhabi remains a global trade and investment hub as well as supporting our local industries,” said the Abu Dhabi Ports chief executive Mohamed Juma Al Shamisi.
“Building on recent growth at Khalifa Port, we are future-proofing our operations to ensure we can continue to attract the world’s leading operators to use our world-class facilities that will see Capesize vessels, the largest in the cargo industry, come directly into an Abu Dhabi port for the very first time.”
The expansion is part of ambitious plans for Khalifa Port, which replaced Abu Dhabi’s 1960s built Port Zayed as the city’s main container port in December 2012 with the capacity to handle 2 million containers a year and is projected to have the capacity to handle 15 million a year by 2030.
It also comes just six months after Dubai port operator DP World signed two major construction contracts to expand its Jebel Ali mega-port by building a US$1.6 billion fourth terminal which is also expected to be completed by 2018.
Last year, Abu Dhabi Ports reported that the port handled 1.5 million TEUs (twenty foot equivalent containers), up from 1.1 million in 2014.
Khalifa Port serves the Kizad project, a 417-square-kilometre industrial zone between Abu Dhabi and Dubai.
The overall project is due to be completed in 2030, and the new industrial zone will be expected to contribute up to 15 per cent of Abu Dhabi’s non-oil GDP.
According to property broker Knight Frank, performance in the UAE industrial sector remained flat in the first half of this year as occupiers postponed new purchases and expansion requirements on the back of a slowdown in global trade volumes.
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