UAE seaports account for 61% of GCC trade volume



Recognising the vital role of the UAE’s ports in providing trade links between the Far East, Asia, Europe and the US, international shipping and cargo experts are set to gather in Abu Dhabi on 28-30 March, for the World Ports and Trade Summit 2011.

Abu DhabiAcross the emirates, a number of port developments are moving forward as global trade gathers renewed momentum and investment capital again begins to flow post-recession. The economic and social imperatives of securing export and import routes for food and oil respectively are important drivers of the UAE‘s rejuvenated ports investment.

Besides the impressive development and ongoing investment in Jebel Ali Port by DP World, a strategic investment by Abu Dhabi is funding infrastructure projects in the northern emirate of Fujairah. It has committed more than $3.3bn to building an oil-storage terminal, an oil pipeline and a storage facility for imported grain.

An important factor in these projects is the direct access Fujairah has to the Indian Ocean, offering an alternative shipping route to the congested Strait of Hormuz, through which a fifth of the world’s oil supplies move.

“Providing direct alternative shipping access between the Arabian Gulf and the rest of the world, represents considerable ongoing time and cost benefits for certain international shipping,” said Chris Hayman, Chairman of Seatrade.

Allowing tankers to load and unload in Fujairah cuts the additional 400km trip to Abu Dhabi, saving large crude carriers as much as $37,500 per day, according to figures from the UK’s Drewry Shipping Consultants, further boosting the local economies of the Northern Emirates.

The UAE‘s ports, which account for a 61% majority of trade volume among the GCC countries, witnessed a compound annual growth rate of 13% in volume between 2004 and 2008. Though this fell away slightly between 2008 and 2009, it rebounded significantly throughout 2010.

Phase one of Abu Dhabi’s Khalifa Port and Industrial Zone (Kizad) is well underway, with operations due to start in 2012. ADPC ( Abu Dhabi Ports Company) has committed $1.36bn to the five-phase project, with the first phase to have capacity for around 14 million twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) per year.

With the support of Abu Dhabi Terminals, Arab Sea Ports Federation and joint event organisers Turret Media and Seatrade, the inaugural summit this year will become an annual event. Internationally recognised economists, ports authorities, terminal operators, shipping companies, global cargo owners and investors will be brought together to present some of the most ambitious projects ever attempted.

The World Ports and Trade Summit is split into six different sessions covering topics including the world economy, trade and ports, future challenges and opportunities for the Middle East and leading drivers of freight markets.

In addition, ADPC will be presenting its plans for Kizad. . Attendees can meet ADPC at the exhibition, hear from their experts in the conference, and see the project close-up through hosted tours to the ports itself.

Jointly organised by Turret Media and Seatrade, The World Ports & Trade Summit is sponsored by the UAE Department of Transport, Etihad Crystal Cargo, Bechtel, National Bank of Abu Dhabi (NBAD), Boskalis Westminster Middle East, DNV, Citi, Emirates Aluminium and in association with Abu Dhabi Ports Company, Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority (ADTA), Department of Economic Development, DP World, Abu Dhabi Chamber of Commerce & Industry, the Arab Seaports Federation and Organisation of the Islamic Ship owners Association.