By Andy Sambidge
Port operator says construction work has started on new facilities at Al Hamriya Port
DP World has announced the start of construction work on new fishing industry facilities at Al Hamriya Port.
The development, slated to be completed in the first half of 2012, will have a new 1,650m long wharf with a capacity to accommodate 225 fishing boats, as well as a special 300-metre marina for traditional dhows.
The project will include the expansion of the existing docks and upgrading of all facilities.
The work on the fishermen's wharf is part of a project that DP World, launched earlier this year to upgrade and modernise Al Hamriya Port, which has traditionally been a hub for the movement of non-containerised goods between Dubai and the rest of the Gulf, South Asia and East Africa.
The upgrading plans also include widening of the docks to enable Al Hamriya Port to receive larger feeder vessels, expanding the yard used for maintenance of traditional wooden dhows, and the shifting of the existing fishermen's centre to a new location within the port.
The upgrade will promote the overall efficiency of the traditional port, located in the heart of Dubai.
The entire project is expected to be completed in 18 to 24 months, in line with market demand, DP World said in a statement.
There are more than 730 registered fishing boats in Dubai and the fishermen's community has over 3,300 members engaged in delivering daily fresh stocks of seafood to the local market.
Sultan Ahmed Bin Sulayem, chairman, DP World, said: "Fishing is in the blood of the people of this nation. The expansion work at Al Hamriya's fishermen's wharf underpins DP World's commitment to invest in projects that go beyond commercial value to the local community.
"It is an investment in preserving and expanding a sector that is important both economically and to our heritage."
Mohammed Al Muallem, senior vice president and managing director, DP World, UAE region, added: "Fishing and sea trade have historically been a core component of Dubai's economy, and now after 35 successful years as a vital regional hub for re-export and fishing, we are equipping Al Hamriya Port to deliver significant services of value to both the shipping industry and the fishing community.
"Our expansion plans are in direct response to fishermen's needs and we are confident the new facilities will further cement the excellent relations we have with all our port users."
Mohammed Saeed Al Marri, chairman, Dubai Fishermen's Cooperative Association, said: "Dubai's growing fishing industry has been in need of modernisation and improved operating efficiencies.
"We thank DP World for responding positively to our needs with this project. We believe that it will contribute towards increasing the sector's overall productivity and directly benefit the fishing community."
Dubai accounted for over 10% of the UAE's annual catch of 77,700 tons of fish and increasing demand has ensured a steady rise in productivity over the years.