x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

Shahama to get ship-shape for new neighbours

When the new neighbours are going to be as upmarket as the Louvre and the Guggenheim museums, it is time for a makeover. That is just what Abu Dhabi Ports Company has planned for Shahama Port.

When the new neighbours are going to be as upmarket as the Louvre and the Guggenheim museums, it is definitely time for a makeover.

That is just what Abu Dhabi Ports Company (ADPC) has planned for Shahama Port, the small basin tucked into the side of Saadiyat Island directly opposite Abu Dhabi's main sea terminal, Mina Zayed.

Built 10 years ago, Shahama has never really functioned as a port or had exotic cargoes pass across its berths. Instead it has been used mainly by passing traffic; some yachts, some support craft, anyone looking for a place to tie up near the city and the main port area across the Khor Laffan.

But big things are now planned for the Shahama area. Abu Dhabi's Tourism Development and Investment Company, the master developer of Saadiyat Island, says "business, culture, tourism and sports will all intersect here to create a multifaceted, premier island destination, offering a unique invitation to the discerning traveller".

As a result, ADPC has some plans for Shahama that it unveiled this week. "We have set the engineering consultancy Halcrow a mission to revive the area, adding value to the port and surrounding community", said an ADPC spokesman.

"Works will involve an upgrade of the Shahama Port water basin and land site, followed by the development of sales and service facilities for small marine craft, [and] marine and water clubhouse activities in the basin area," he said.

The aim is to turn the little basin into the largest one-stop shop for leisure boat users on this coast, with facilities that will include dedicated slipways for boats and jet skis, wet and dry berthing for more than 500 boats up to 100 feet in length, a marina clubhouse, picnic areas, restaurants, free car-parking areas, security and a lifeguard station. Chandler companies will also be encouraged into the new port by the construction of large modern showrooms and adjacent repair shops.

"The area around Shahama Port is well loved by recreational boat users, and this upgrade of the port's facilities will be of great benefit to the community and leisure sailors alike," said Waleed Al Tamimi, the vice president for project development at ADPC. "While Khalifa Port will become the chief focal point of Abu Dhabi's commercial port activities over the coming decades, the emirate's smaller ports remain just as important, and we look forward to seeing the redeveloped Shahama."

Laurence Banyard, the principal maritime engineer at Halcrow, said his firm was "committed to developing Shahama Port into one of the capital's most popular leisure ports".

dblack@thenational.ae