In facing the extraordinary challenge of a once in a generation pandemic, Abu Dhabi Ports has weathered 2020 particularly well, continuing to grow and expand its overall capacity and capabilities and emerge stronger than ever before.
With the advent of Covid-19, the company successfully raised its profile worldwide as a responsible player in the trade and logistics sector with the Horns of Hope campaign. This innovative initiative reached more than 260 million people in over 23 countries and involved leading global and regional organisations, such as the International Maritime Organisation and the Arab Sea Ports Federation. In tandem, Abu Dhabi Ports' comprehensive business continuity strategy was implemented ensuring the smooth flow of goods and medical provisions supplied into Abu Dhabi continued as normal for the duration of the crisis.
By the close of the year, as the Covid-19 vaccine became available, Abu Dhabi Ports joined the Hope Consortium, the Abu Dhabi government-led effort to realise full global vaccine distribution. Abu Dhabi Ports is committed to utilising storage and distribution resources at its logistics facilities at the Khalifa Industrial Zone Abu Dhabi (KIZAD) toward the immunisation efforts of billions of people in the region and beyond.
Falah Mohammad Al Ahbabi, Chairman of Abu Dhabi Ports, said: "Abu Dhabi Ports' contribution to addressing humanity's greatest challenge in a generation is testament to the high esteem our organisation and assets are held both within Abu Dhabi and the UAE and around the world.
"In less than 12 months, Abu Dhabi Ports' pandemic response and overall contribution to trade and logistics are accelerating its transformational journey from a domestic champion to a globally recognised player. Thanks to our wise leadership's continuing commitment to develop all aspects of our maritime, trade, and logistics sectors, the UAE is ideally positioned to overcome all obstacles in line with the government's long-term goals and objectives."
Captain Mohamed Juma Al Shamisi, Group CEO of Abu Dhabi Ports, added: "We are proud of Abu Dhabi Port's wonderful achievements over the course of 2020. Despite the most difficult business environment, our broad portfolio has remained resilient and has continued to grow, keeping trade moving, building new facilities and infrastructure, and launching new services.
"By taking bold strategic steps and performing exceptionally, Abu Dhabi Ports is transforming its operations to deliver a truly outstanding maritime trade and logistics experience for all those who trade with our emirate, and, in turn, boosting Abu Dhabi's international trade contribution."
Captain Mohamed Juma Al Shamisi
Abu Dhabi Ports
Progress Across Ports
Despite the unprecedented challenges that arose over the course of 2020, Khalifa Port, Abu Dhabi Ports' flagship deep-water facility, which today serves more than 25 shipping lines and offers links to over 70 international destinations, has managed to surpass expectations by achieving a series of magnificent milestones, such as progressing the ongoing South Quay and Khalifa Port Logistics (KPL) developments ahead of schedule.
Khalifa Port's advanced RoRo terminal, Autoterminal Khalifa Port, unveiled an all-new technical centre aimed at diversifying the portfolio of services on offer for our automotive customers.
One big player to invest in Khalifa Port's ecosystem is Saudi-based Arabian Chemical Terminals (ACT), who signed a 50-year lease earlier last year. They will take advantage of a plot next to the 16-metre-deep quayside at KPL for a commercial bulk liquid and gas storage tank farm.
As part of its efforts to serve and facilitate the growing global trade demands within the Gulf region, and to support mainliner shipping clients, Abu Dhabi Ports also announced the establishment of a new feeder services company called 'Safeen Feeders'. The new service injects further transhipment capacity at Khalifa Port and allows Abu Dhabi Ports to meet the growing demands of its largest customers.
Closing the year on a high, the unveiling of the 2020 edition of Lloyd's List Top 100 Container Ports revealed that Khalifa Port had advanced a total of 24 spots on the annual ranking. Moving from 95 to its new position of 71, the port was noted for achieving the largest percentage jump in container throughput than any other entrant and was crowned the fastest growing port in the world.
Over the course of the year, one significant event stood out in Abu Dhabi Ports' development of innovation.
In May 2020, Sheikh Khalid bin Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Member of the Abu Dhabi Executive Council, and Chairman of the Abu Dhabi Executive Office, inaugurated the Single Window of Logistics & Trade in Abu Dhabi during a visit to KIZAD.
Developed and operated by Abu Dhabi Ports' Maqta Gateway under the supervision of the Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development, the Advanced Trade and Logistics Platform (ATLP) aims to facilitate trade through sea, land, air, industrial and free zones, in addition to enhancing customer and stakeholder experience within the trade and logistics sectors.
Sheikh Khalid's visit to the region's largest industrial zone also included a detailed briefing on the ongoing projects in various phases of development at KIZAD and inspection of Abu Dhabi Ports Logistics' Cold Storage Warehouse, one of the largest facilities of its type constructed in Abu Dhabi.Â
Over the course of the year, KIZAD broke ground on several new developments including the Middle East region's largest truck plaza, which is roughly equal in size to 12 soccer fields. Covering an area of more than 87,000 sqm, the facility will cater to the needs of workers and visitors to the zone and will include a dedicated ADNOC Distribution service station, as well as a community centre, retail outlets, a car care service, and a mosque.
In June, KIZAD announced the start of developing new warehouse products to meet the rising demand for pre-built facilities. A range of small-to-medium light-industrial warehousing units comprising the fourth, fifth, sixth, and seventh phases of the KIZAD Logistics Park were introduced throughout 2020.
In recognition of its efforts to support the continued development of Abu Dhabi's industrial and manufacturing prowess, KIZAD was awarded three of fDi Magazine's Middle East's fDi Global Free Zones of the Year 2020 awards including the coveted Middle East - Large Tenants category.
The tour de force for Abu Dhabi Ports' Industrial Cities and Free Zone portfolio for 2020 came in the form of an agreement between Abu Dhabi Ports and the Manufacturers Association of Israel (MAI) to enhance trade, investment, and technology cooperation between the two Middle East countries.
Halt on Rents
Abu Dhabi Ports recently announced a freeze on rent escalation during 2021 for all businesses in its Industrial Cities and Free Zone cluster, in a move aimed at providing further relief to its customers in KIZAD and ZonesCorp and boosting the Abu Dhabi economy in these challenging times.
The effective freeze on rent increase for the entire year is in line with Abu Dhabi Ports' core philosophy of enabling businesses to remain competitive within their target markets, and follows several measures taken throughout 2020 to provide relief to customers. The rent escalation freeze will benefit more than 1,400 companies within Abu Dhabi Ports' Industrial Cities and Free Zone cluster.
Abdullah Al Hameli, Head, Industrial Cities and Free Zone Cluster, Abu Dhabi Ports, said: "Abu Dhabi Ports is taking steps to help its customers remain competitive during this exceptional economic climate and overcome the challenges brought on by Covid-19. We are working in line with the Abu Dhabi Government's efforts to extend relief to businesses by ensuring our customers retain their competitive advantage.
"The freeze in rent escalation we have announced reflects our commitment towards enhancing the growth and stability of our customers and tenants and falls in line with the government directives to stimulate future growth for the UAE's economy. We are confident that this measure will help fast track the robust economic recovery that the Government is making efforts to achieve," he added.
Last year, ZonesCorp customers were exempted from 'Musataha' contract registration, utility payments based on actual consumption, and application and documentation fees. The company is also providing a 25 per cent price reduction for new investors.