Chinese companies are boosting investments in the emirate
Abu Dhabi Ports exploring further partnerships with Chinese investors in free zone
Abu Dhabi Ports is in discussions with Chinese investors with the aim of attracting further investment from the country to the Khalifa Port Free Trade Zone, in line with the emirate’s economic diversification plans.
The ports operator, which runs the capital’s US$7 billion Khalifa Port, is courting Chinese investors after signing a 50-year agreement in July with Chinese Jiangsu Provincial Overseas Cooperation and Investment Company, which will bring in investments of Dh1.1bn to the zone.
“Jiangsu is the beginning,” said Captain Mohamed Al Shamsi, Abu Dhabi Ports’ chief executive.
“We are also looking at other opportunities with other provinces in China,” he said, declining to give additional details.
Abu Dhabi Ports, which also operates Khalifa Industrial Zone Abu Dhabi (Kizad), is expanding its operations in the UAE as part of efforts by the country to diversify the economy away from oil.
China, the UAE’s second largest trade partner after India, is also boosting investments in Abu Dhabi emirate.
China’s Cosco Shipping, the world’s third-largest largest container shipper, signed a concession agreement with Abu Dhabi Ports in September 2016 to build and operate a $738 million shipping terminal in Khalifa Port. The new facility, which will begin to come onstream during the first half of 2018, will add 2.4 million twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) a year to the port’s existing capacity of 2.5 million TEUs.
The expansion is part of ambitious plans for Khalifa Port, which replaced Abu Dhabi’s 1960s-built Port Zayed as the city’s main container port in December 2012. Khalifa Port will have the capacity to handle 15 million TEUs a year by 2030, under current plans.
Mr Shamsi said the development of Khalifa Port depends on the rate of growth of business at the facility, which is expanding at a healthy rate.
Abu Dhabi Ports’ net profit rose 140 per cent last year from a year earlier as the company continued to benefit from an increase in volumes at the ports it manages.
The ports operator last month began operating Fujairah Terminals, a business encompassing a new container, cruise and RoRo terminal in the northern emirate, as part of a 35-year concession agreement signed with Port of Fujairah in June. Abu Dhabi Ports plans to invest Dh1bn on infrastructure and equipment at the port’s terminals, previously operated by DP World.