A second port in Musaffah to serve the growing number of manufacturing companies setting up in the industrial zones next to Abu Dhabi Island is being planned. The move comes on top of plans to spend Dh1.5 billion (US$408.4 million) dredging a second channel leading to the entrance of the proposed new port.
Musaffah and the adjacent Industrial City of Abu Dhabi (ICAD), home to a steel mill, shipbuilding dry docks, and oil and gas rig fabricators, require ready access to the ocean to receive feedstock and materials for local industry. But it has been constrained by shallow shipping lanes, proximity to recreational boaters and plans to develop nearby Hodariyat Island. "We are in discussions with the Abu Dhabi Government to have another port here to serve the industry and expand the ICAD areas," Mohammed al Shamisi, the vice president of port operations at by Abu Dhabi Ports Company (ADPC), said during the Middle East Ports 2010 conference hosted by MEED. He did not provide specifics on the size of the proposed port.
A 63km second channel is being dredged by National Marine Dredging of Abu Dhabi and is due for completion by June. It will be 200 metres wide with a 9-metre draught. The port, with a 300-metre quay length, is under-used because of its location. The channel is also not deep enough for heavy ocean-going vessels, which have been forced to drop anchor 40km offshore and transfer raw iron for steel mills on to smaller ships for delivery into Musaffah.
As the emirate diversifies away from oil and gas revenues and builds new commercially sustainable industries, the industrial zone will take on a growing role, as will its largest tenants including Emirates Steel Industries, Abu Dhabi Ship Building, Al Jaber Group and Gulf Piping. The plans for a second port have been on the drawing board for years, including an earlier proposal for a deepwater port with a 14-metre draught. Those plans were revised in early 2008, when officials from Zones Corp, a government firm that manages several of the emirate's industrial areas, said it would abandon plans for a major port in Musaffah because Abu Dhabi was focusing instead on developing Khalifa Port and Industrial Zone in Taweelah.
That zone will encompass an area more than three times the size of Abu Dhabi Island when fully complete in 2030. Touted as one of the most important infrastructure projects the capital has undertaken, it will relocate the emirate's port facilities from Mina Zayed, on Abu Dhabi Island, to Taweelah near the border with Dubai. When it opens in late 2012, two years later than expected, it will have 3.4 square km of offshore port and a 3.2km-long quay length, as well as capacity for 2 million standard containers and 8 million tonnes of general cargo.
It will be gradually expanded throughout five phases until 2030, eventually being able to handle 15 million containers and 35 million tonnes of general cargo a year. After awarding multibillion-dirham contracts for dredging the offshore port, earthworks and building onshore facilities, ADPC plans to announce more contracts this year for roadways, bridges, power and water utilities worth more than Dh1bn, according to Waleed al Tamimi, the vice president of ports projects at ADPC.