UAE: After ice from Greenland, Dubai company to ship 'purest' water from glaciers

Arctic water will be more expensive than desalinated water currently sold locally because of better quality and purity

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Sahim Salim

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Waheed Abbas

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Greenlandic ice cap is the largest reservoirs of fresh water on Earth. Photos: Supplied
Greenlandic ice cap is the largest reservoirs of fresh water on Earth. Photos: Supplied

Published: Wed 7 Feb 2024, 1:12 PM

Last updated: Wed 7 Feb 2024, 11:00 PM

Remember the company that shipped 22 tonnes of glacier ice from Greenland to Dubai? Arctic Ice has now received a licence from the government of Greenland to export freshwater derived from melted glaciers.

The water is the "purest in the world", the company asserts and intends to import this glacial water from south Greenland to the UAE, as well as other Gulf countries and arid regions. "The source produces 21.3 billion litres of water annually," said Samir Ben Tabib, chairman, international relations at Arctic Ice.

In an interview with Khaleej Times, he said, “Our water source is glacial water, known to be the purest in the world. We have been granted a prospecting licence for a new and exciting area where we can access high quantities of quality water suitable to be bottled. Our aim is to build a strong bond between the Gulf region and Greenland, and this is the first significant step towards achieving that goal.

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"As a result of these new agreements, we are beginning to see ourselves as an Arctic water bank that has a variety of products that include glacier ice, water bank and bottled water."

The total dissolved solids (TDS) of the water is 14.21 and the pH level is 7, which is natural
The total dissolved solids (TDS) of the water is 14.21 and the pH level is 7, which is natural

According to Artic Ice, the glaciers in Greenland and the Greenlandic ice cap is the largest reservoirs of fresh water on Earth. Each day, huge quantities of clean, fresh melted water run into the seas around Greenland. Melted surface water from large ice caps and glaciers is suitable as “high-quality drinking water in large volumes”.

“The total dissolved solids (TDS) of the water is 14.21 and the pH level is 7, which is natural,” he said.

Arctic Water Bank, a company formed in Greenland by Ben Tabib, is looking to partner with big players, where it can provide ice and water brand SIKU to the UAE, Gulf, and other dry regions where high-quality water is needed.

“We have chosen an area in the southern part of Greenland where the water quality is exceptional,” Ben Tabib said.

Samir Ben Tabib
Samir Ben Tabib

He elaborated that to manage bulk water shipment; Artic Water Bank will set up a site where big tankers and ships can come and fill up with the water. “We will deliver on-site service, helping the big tankers/ships get water from our source. Right now, we are in the process of producing digital nautical maps for our future shipping routes. We need to set up an Arctic water bank where clients can order water in bulk,” he said.

Price and storage

With regard to storage of the water in the UAE, he said the plan is either to sell it directly from the source in bulk on long-term contracts or produce high-end water bottles under its brand SIKU.

“We have not yet decided where the storage should be located in UAE, but we have to build something because it is a massive production or maybe we can have a partnership with the local distributors. There are different options, and we will have an intense dialogue with clients to find a commercially viable solution for all parties through Chaouki Tabib, senior associate from Al Suwaidi & Company,” he said.

Arctic Ice’s chairman for international relations said the price of the “purest” water is dependent on the market conditions.

“For now, we see a lot of interest. We expect to hold serious dialogues with the Gulf region. We are all familiar with desalinated water. But our product is better in quality and purity, so we expect it will be more expensive as a result,” he added.

Melted surface water from large ice caps and glaciers is suitable as “high-quality drinking water'
Melted surface water from large ice caps and glaciers is suitable as “high-quality drinking water"

Water prices to rise

He said that they have obtained a licence from the Greenland government to explore other areas also to source fresh water. “We plan to expand the Arctic water bank to have a lot of sources. Our estimates showed that water prices will increase between 30-40 per cent by 2030 because countries are experiencing dry seasons. Many things that we take for granted are going to be luxury products in the future,” he added.

Keeping in mind the environmental aspect, Arctic Water Bank is aiming to transport large amounts of water from Greenland to the UAE and the Gulf. “We are supporting and using the first movers in shipping, who are leading the ongoing green transition in shipping. Our site in Greenland will be run on 100 per cent water energy.”

Arctic ice popularity

The ice imported by the company from Greenland to Dubai has seen tremendous response.

“The interest in our products has been overwhelming in Dubai, Italy, Switzerland, New York, Miami, Tokyo London. We are grateful for the amazing number of pre-bookings, we have received,” Ben Tabib said, adding that world-renowned brands, restaurants, high net-worth individuals want to buy arctic ice.

“As a result, we've had a prioritiation exercise to make sure our products land in the right places,” he concluded.

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