Abu Dhabi Terminals said on Wednesday it has secured the exclusive right to manage and operate the first Khalifa Port container terminal by signing a 30-year concession with Abu Dhabi Ports Company.
The state-of-the-art facility, which began commercial operations on September 1 this year, was formally inaugurated last week.
The port's deep sea berths, hulking ship-to-shore (STS) cranes and automated technology are already a big draw for the major shipping lines, officials said in a statement.
Dr Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, chairman of ADPC, said: "The concession secures the effective management and operation of Khalifa Port Container Terminal 1 for the next 30 years and will help to enable significant industrial development and diversification."
The port is part of the Khalifa Industrial Zone Abu Dhabi (Kizad). Together, the two projects are expected to contribute 15 percent of the capital's non-oil gross domestic product by 2030.
Khalifa Port currently operates six of the world's largest STS cranes and the only semi-automated container terminal in the Middle East.
After another three STS cranes and 12 stacking cranes are delivered by 2014, it will have the capacity to handle 2.5 million containers annually, finishing phase one of the project.
The capacity of the existing port island can then be doubled to five million containers per annum in line with demand, Al Jaber added.
Martijn Van de Linde, CEO of ADT, said: "By signing this agreement, we have cemented long-term cooperation with ADPC and secured our commitment to growing this burgeoning terminal into an international giant.
"We helped plan the terminal, we designed its operation methodology and we managed the redirection of container traffic from the city centre; now, we can focus on growing the container business and providing local industry with a gateway to the world."
ADT planned the strategic redirection of Abu Dhabi's container business from Mina Zayed, a 40-year-old port in the city centre, to Khalifa Port.
The move was completed three months ahead of schedule and less than three months after the facility began commercial operations.
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