x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Move to boost Sharjah's port

As part of a drive to turn Port Khalid into one of the leading cargo and passenger seaports in the country, companies operating there are all scheduled to move to Hamriya Free Zone by the end of next year.

SHARJAH // As part of a drive to turn Port Khalid into one of the leading cargo and passenger seaports in the country, companies operating there are all scheduled to move to Hamriya Free Zone by the end of next year, port authorities announced this week. The move will be one of the final steps to realising the Sharjah Directorate of Ports and Sea Customs's ambitions for the facility.

"The port would have a big station for loading and unloading containers, facilitate container movement for exporters and importers as well as other sea travellers," Sheikh Khaleed bin Abdullah, the chairman of the directorate, told members of Sharjah Consultative Council in their last session of the year. Officials could not provide the precise number of companies that will move but Haddy al Qassim, managing director of Hamriya Free Zone, said it was home to most of the biggest oil and heavy industries in the emirate.

Shaikh Khaleed said Customs was considering scrapping the investment deposit of Dh50,000 (US$14,000) required from to start a company in any of the emirate's free zones, as way of encouraging more investments, though no final decision had been reached. He predicted it would take effect before the end of this year. Another important discussion concerned the planned fishing port at Khor Fakkan, which already has one of the biggest ports in Sharjah. Port Khor Fakhan is the only natural deepwater harbour in the Gulf region, and has four berths serviced by 14 container gantry cranes. A major berth extension project is currently under way.

ykakande@thenational.ae