Abu Dhabi's $2.18bn Khalifa Port to start ops in 2012

UAE capital plans to develop smaller ports to cope with increasing traffic - official.

The first phase of Abu Dhabi's $2.18 billion Khalifa Port will become operational in 2012 and the oil-rich emirate plans to develop smaller ports to cope with increasing traffic, a senior port official said on Monday.

The initial capacity of the new port is 2 million TEUs (twenty foot equivalent units) and eight million tonnes general cargo annually, nearly four times more than the current capacity of the largest existing port.

"The Khalifa Port will be built in five phases. Phase one will be ready end 2012," Mohamed Al Shamsi, Port Unit vice president, Khalifa Port & Industrial Zone (KPIZ) told a conference.

The operations of the existing Mina Zayed will be shifted to the Khalifa Port in late 2012, he said. Mina Zayed handled 530,000 TEUs in 2009 and 4.3 million tonnes of general cargo, he said.

The KPIZ is also focusing on developing small ports around the emirate. At least four smaller ports are under development including the Mina Mussafah.

The approximately $408 million Mina Mussafah channel relocation project will be completed by June this year, he said.

"This port will service existing and future clients in the Mussafah industrial area and the nearby industrial zones," he said, adding that the port would be transferred to Abu Dhabi Ports Company in July.

The other ports being developed are the Shahama port, Ras al Ghaf and Al Sadr, he said.

An upcoming aluminium smelter and other plants in sectors such as chemicals, glass and paper in the industrial zone will ensure steady traffic at the Khalifa port.

Abu Dhabi, capital of the United Arab Emirates has embarked on a major diversification plan to develop various sectors such as property, tourism, infrastructure and others.

"By 2030 when all phases of the port are completed, its capacity will be 15 million TEUs and 35 million tonnes of general cargo," Al Shamsi said, adding the port would contribute up to $22 billion of Abu Dhabi's GDP in 2030. (Reuters)

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