Abu Dhabi completes Dh1.5b Mussafah Channel project

Filed on February 2, 2011

ABU DHABI Abu Dhabi Urban Planning Council (UPC) on Tuesday officially handed over the landmark 53-kilometre long Mussafah Channel project to Abu Dhabi Ports Company (ADPC) for operational use. The channel was built at a cost of Dh1.5 billion.

The UPC has recently completed the construction of the ‘New Mussafah Navigation Channel’ project that will enable access to larger commercial vessels and provide a safe navigation access channel with increased air draft (water depth) to service the Mussafah Industrial Zone and future ICAD areas.

“The completion of the new channel is a major milestone in the Abu Dhabi Vision 2030 implementation process, as the government continues to invest in vital infrastructure enhancement projects designed to support the growth of our Emirate’s economic development,” Falah Al Ahbabi, General Manager, UPC, said.

Dr Sultan Al Jaber, Chairman, ADPC, senior representatives from Mubadala, ZonesCorp, Environment Agency–Abu Dhabi and the National Marine Dredging Company (NMDC) also attended the event.

The Mussafah Channel is located just off the south-western shoreline of Hudayriat Island, immediately to the west of the Mussafah Industrial Area in Abu Dhabi, and leads to the open sea. The project has now replaced the existing access channel to Mussafah Industrial Area and smaller ships only will be using the “old” channel in the near future.

The new channel was developed at an investment of Dh1.5 billion required dredging a volume of 65 million cubic metres. The minimum depth is nine metres at lowest astronomical tide and the minimum width is 200 metres. The channel dimensions allow for two-way vessel traffic of large Panamax type bulk carriers.

“The increased depth of the new channel will provide greater economic opportunities to the existing Mussafah Industrial Zone by allowing a significant expansion of operations and penetration into the global markets, which will in turn have a positive impact on Abu Dhabi’s economy,” said Al Ahbabi.

Environmental considerations were paramount for the project as the channel passes through the Bul Sayeef Marine Protected Area, significant for its seagrass community and thriving marine habitat including dugongs.

All safety measured were undertaken for preservance of the marine life, while constructing the channel. Working in harmony with our environment to improve every facet of life in Abu Dhabi is a key precondition of our remit as the urban planning authority. Leveraging our natural habitat is the key to unlock Abu Dhabi’s vast potential and diversify the emirate’s economy, said Al Ahbabi.

Khalifa Port

Phase one of the main Khalifa Port in Abu Dhabi emirate, a key enabler for the Khalifa Industrial Zone (KIZAD), will be opened for business in fourth quarter of 2012, said Tony Douglas, CEO of ADPC.

According to Douglas, apart from the Emirates Aluminium (Emal) berth in KP, which became operational on November 3, 2010, while the phase one will have an initial capacity to handle two million TEUs container traffic and eight million tonnes of general cargo annually.

“The opening of the new channel will make a big difference to the competitiveness of industry in Abu Dhabi, facilitating imports and exports. It will play a large part in our portfolio of commercial operations, which includes Mina Zayed, as well as Khalifa Port, phase one of which will open in fourth quarter of 2012,” Douglas said.

The role of Khalifa Port is to accommodate Mina Zayed’s traffic when it closes in 2012 as well as the new cargo generated by KIZAD itself. KIZAD is set to become one of the world’s biggest industrial zones, and Khalifa Port will become one of the biggest ports in the world when all phases are completed, Douglas said.

Through phased development up to 2030, Khalifa Port will grow to a capacity of 15 million TEUs and 35 million tons of general cargo. Khalifa Port is being constructed on a reclaimed port island situated four kilometres out to sea.—

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