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Port Khalifa Officially Opened

by Lorys Charalambous,, Cyprus

17 December 2012

Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the United Arab Emirates and Ruler of Abu Dhabi, formerly inaugurated Khalifa Port, next to Khalifa Industrial Zone Abu Dhabi (Kizad) on December 12, 2012, heralding in what he called "a new era" in the UAE's maritime history.

Khalifa Port is the result of a AED25.6bn (USD7.2bn) investment, and was delivered ahead of schedule and below budget.

The port began commercial operations on September 1, 2012, and since then all container traffic has moved to Khalifa Port, from Mina Zayed - previously the Emirate's largest "destination port."

Khalifa Port is the world's first semi-automated container terminal, and the most technologically-advanced facility in the Middle East and North Africa region, featuring six of the world's largest ship-to-shore cranes.

The port has the capacity to handle 50,000 containers a week and one million tons of cargo a month. In its first years of operations, Terminal 1 will be able to handle 2.5m twenty-foot equivalent container units (TEUs) and 12m tonnes of general cargo per year. It is anticipated that by 2030, the facility will have capacity for 15m containers, rivaling the likes of the world-leading terminals in Shanghai, Hong Kong and Singapore.

At the Port's launch, Al Nahyan said: "The opening of this flagship project strengthens our progress and will also contribute to the continuation of the high rate of growth witnessed by the UAE, meeting the aspirations of the country's citizens for a significant base for the national economy."

The port has been established adjacent to Kizad, a vast, tax-free industrial zone. The government projects that within a generation, Khalifa Port and Kizad will account for up to 15% of Abu Dhabi’s non-oil GDP, as part of efforts to diversify the economy.

The 418 square-kilometer Kizad industrial zone, 1.2 square-kilometers of which will be a free zone, features infrastructure designed specifically to accommodate the needs of key sectors such as aluminum, steel, engineered metals, petrochemicals, chemicals, food, paper, print and packaging, logistics and warehousing and glass.

TAGS: marine

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