By Andy Sambidge
Region's only semi-automated container terminal receives first vessel as part of tests
Abu Dhabi's Khalifa Port is on track to open on September 1 after undergoing "intensive and full scale tests", officials said on Saturday.
The only semi-automated container terminal in the region, the port has received its first commercial container vessel as part of the testing phase, Abu Dhabi Ports Company (ADPC) said.
The vessel, Ever Dynamic, from Evergreen Line with a total capacity of 4,173 TEUs (Twenty foot Equivalent container Units) sailed from Shanghai and arrived at Khalifa Port on July 18, it added in a statement.
Khalifa Port is able to service the world's largest seagoing container vessels - unlike Mina Zayed, the Abu Dhabi city centre port, which it is replacing.
Phase one of the Khalifa Port Container Terminal will initially handle 2.5 million TEUs container traffic and 12 million tons of general cargo annually.
By 2030, it is expected that Khalifa Port will be able to handle 15 million TEUs and 35 million tons of general cargo per year.
Captain Mohamed Al Shamisi, executive vice president, Ports' Unit, ADPC said: "The arrival of the vessel at Khalifa Port bears witness to the fact that the port's container terminal is fully prepared and on track to start operations on September 1.
"The port has undergone extensive and very stringent testing procedures to ensure it operates as per world-class port standards."
Martijn Van de Linde, CEO of port operator Abu Dhabi Terminals (ADT), added: "It is the culmination of many years of hard work and preparation that we welcome the Ever Dynamic, the first direct mainline call from the Far East.
"It heralds a new era in our maritime history, by offering our customers and trade direct access to overseas markets and in establishing Khalifa Port as a leading hub in the region.
"During the course of the coming months we will continue to transition and test with individual shipping lines with the aim of officially opening Khalifa Port's new container terminal on September 1."
The port covers a wide area, measuring 9 square kilometres, including the 2.7 sq km man-made port island.
"Khalifa Port is a huge investment by Abu Dhabi, offering customers from the region and other parts of the world a one-stop shop for container business, providing bespoke solutions that meet and exceed their expectations. We look forward to building to full capacity over several phases in the future," added Al Shamisi.