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Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 14 December 2018

Abu Dhabi Ports, EGA sign dredging agreement to import bauxite

Deal will see Khalifa Port dredged and widened to allow entry by world’s largest cargo ships

The agreement was signed at EGA’s headquarters by Mohamed Juma Al Shamisi (left), chief executive of Abu Dhabi Ports and Abdulla Kalban, managing director and chief executive of EGA.Photo: EGA
The agreement was signed at EGA’s headquarters by Mohamed Juma Al Shamisi (left), chief executive of Abu Dhabi Ports and Abdulla Kalban, managing director and chief executive of EGA.Photo: EGA

Abu Dhabi Ports, which runs the UAE’s US$7 billion Khalifa Port, has signed an agreement with state aluminium producer Emirates Global Aluminium (EGA) to import bauxite using the world’s largest bulk cargo ships.

Under the deal, Abu Dhabi Ports will dredge and widen channels to allow large vessels to berth fully laden directly at Khalifa Port, the two parties said on Saturday.

The long-term port facility agreement will enable the import of bauxite, the world’s main source of aluminium, through Khalifa Port to EGA’s Al Taweelah alumina refinery in Abu Dhabi, using ‘Capesize’ vessels - the largest dry cargo vessels, typically above 150,000 deadweight tonnage.

“Dredging Khalifa Port to allow fully laden Capesize vessels to reach EGA’s berth will reduce our costs, simplify our bauxite supply chain, and improve our environmental performance,” said Abdulla Kalban, managing director and chief executive of EGA.

“The enhanced capabilities at Khalifa Port will enable broader trade and economic benefits for Abu Dhabi.”

The agreement will also make Abu Dhabi Ports the first in the Arabian Gulf capable of directly handling such massive ships, the parties said.

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The dredging works will deepen the channel to 18.5 metres and basin to 18m. Khalifa Port is already undergoing expansion to accommodate a new terminal that will be managed by China’s Cosco Shipping Ports under a 35-year concession agreement signed last year.

This latest development is expected to encourage larger ships to call in at Abu Dhabi, creating new trade opportunities as global conditions improve.

“As vital trade, logistics and industrial hubs of Abu Dhabi, Khalifa Port and Kizad [Khalifa Industrial free zone] play a vital role in the emirate’s economic diversification strategy,” said Mohamed Juma Al Shamisi, chief executive of Abu Dhabi Ports.

“EGA’s long term commitment will give an important boost to trade and investment in KIZAD and more broadly in the region.”