$7.2bn Khalifa Port & Kizad crucial to Abu Dhabi

CW Infra event hears industrial zone 'will not be allowed to fail'

Acworth says the delivery of Kizad is a 'huge responsibility'
Acworth says the delivery of Kizad is a 'huge responsibility'

The $7.2bn investment in Khalifa Port and Khalifa Industrial Zone Abu Dhabi (Kizad) is the “single most important project in Abu Dhabi’s economy”, a senior Kizad official has said.

Charles Acworth, head of project development, said if Kizad was to fail in meeting its targets it would put the emirate’s Vision 2030 plan in “jeopardy”.

Addressing delegates at the CW UAE Infrastructure conference yesterday (Wednesday, 27 March), he said that Kizad's goal is to create at least 15% of Abu Dhabi’s non-oil GDP and 100,000 to 120,000 jobs by 2030.

“That is a huge responsibility with us and we will not be allowed to fail," said Acworth. "It also means the government gives us massive support.” 

He revealed that Kizad was talking to several major manufacturing firms who are in the process of setting up operations within the industrial zone.

He said one was looking to make a $1bn investment on some 1m m2 of land, while another was looking at a $2bn investment, and would import bulk raw materials and export finished goods. He said its target was to export 150,000 TEU’s in the third year.

A German car components manufacturer was relocating to the area as it is cheaper to make goods here and export them back to Germany, he added.

Acworth said that phase one the Sheikh Khalifa Interchange – the first road link in and out of Khalifa Port – was now ready. The port opened in September last year.

He stressed that it was not in direct competition with the nearby Jebel Ali Port in Dubai and would be “enhancing what Jebel Ali does because Jebel Ali is almost at full capacity”.

Unlike Jebel Ali, he said that around 90% of goods handled by the port would be for export to global markets, and the TEU (twenty-foot equivalent units) target for 2013 was one million. Later phases of the port’s expansion would see it have a capacity for 15m TEUs and 35m tonnes of bulk cargo. He said that $200m was spent on protecting the Ras Ghanada Reef as we “don’t ignore the environment".

Acworth told delegates that phase one infrastructure for Area A (land between E11 highway and the coast) of the Kizad industrial zone was now complete, and two firms are currently operating there.

The existing E11, the main Abu Dhabi to Dubai highway, runs between Kizad's Area A and Area B. Area B (on the other side of the E11 highway) has been designed to link up with the new E311 (Emirates Road) extension, which is being carried out in two phases in 2014 and 2015, he added.

He said Kizad is working closely with Etihad Rail, which is currently constructing the UAE component of a planned pan- Arabian rail network. From its intergration into the Kizad masterplan, Etihad Rail will link Kizad to Saudi Arabia, the northern emirates and on to Oman and Yemen. Longer term, the plan is to link to the EU and Russia, making Kizad even more attractive to investors, Acworth pointed out.

With Kizad being an industrial zone, he said firms would be exempt from duties when importing raw materials and exporting goods to elsewhere in the GCC. Kizad also has small freezone pockets for foreign firms wanting sole ownership. 

He said that Kizad has low ulitiity costs with electrcity costing 15fils per Kwh, while Emal, which is based on site, can deliver liquified aluminium to clients.

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