Economic shift to benefit GCC

ABU DHABI — The centre of gravity in international trade and economy has shifted to East from West at a time when massive infrastructure is being built in the GCC, which will allow the entire region to benefit from it in the next ten years, a top DP World official said.

By (Staff Report)

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Published: Wed 20 Mar 2013, 10:54 PM

Last updated: Sat 4 Apr 2015, 9:43 AM

“Some $2.5 trillion worth of development projects are planned or underway across the Middle East region over the next ten years, which, when combined with the shift eastwards in the centre of [economic] gravity, will give the region a competitive edge,” said Jamal Majid bin Thaniah, group CEO of Port and Free Zone World and vice-chairman of DP World UAE.

“We in the region should capitalise on this with continued investment in the port sector to support that growth,” he told over 300 top executives from the shipping and ports industry attending the World Ports and Trade Summit.

He said that the recently-opened Khalifa Port, and the under-construction Jebel Ali Terminal 3 and expansion to Terminal 2, are the two major developments that will create opportunities.

Bin Thaniah said: “Jebel Ali Port is set for a capacity expansion to 19 million TEU [twenty-foot equivalent unit] per annum, and Abu Dhabi’s Khalifa Port terminal is adding 15 million TEU per year upon completion in 2030.”

Saudi Arabia has allocated $788.4 million to the King Abdul Aziz Port and King Fahd Industrial Port, while Qatar’s $7.1 billion mega-port project, which is slated to open in 2016, will offer an eventual capacity of six million TEU per annum by 2028.

Bin Thaniah said the East grew strongly at a time when the US and Europe slumped.

Dr Sultan Al Jaber, chairman of the Abu Dhabi Ports Company, highlighted the importance of diversification for regional economies and the need to make strategic investments in the Gulf region during his welcome speech at the summit.

“The development of ports and maritime infrastructure will become increasingly crucial to global trade and enhance the region’s position in the international maritime arena,” he said.

“Hosting this event in Abu Dhabi... highlights the industry’s strategic geographical location — between East and West — and continues the legacy of the UAE’s long-held maritime traditions — both as a trading route and for its local economy.”

Dr Al Jaber stressed the need to develop advanced infrastructure for ports and maritime-related services, pointing out the opening of Khalifa Port as the first semi-automatic port in the region. Now in its first operational stage, the port currently has a working capacity of 2.5 million containers and 12 million tonnes of general cargo per annum.

The opening of Khalifa Port, he said, has also contributed to the development and strengthening of commercial and industrial activity at Khalifa Industrial Zone Abu Dhabi, due to the direct and complementary link between the port and the specially-designed industrial and commercial zones adjacent to it.


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