Abu Dhabi Ports Group, which operates ports, industrial cities and free zones in the emirate, signed multiple strategic partnership agreements with Jordan’s Aqaba Development Corporation on Sunday with an aim to develop tourism, logistics, transport and digital infrastructure in Aqaba.
These include deals to develop King Hussein International Airport, Marsa Zayed cruise terminal and an advanced digital port community system, in addition to developing and modernising a multipurpose port, AD Ports Group said in a statement.
“Collectively, these mega-projects represent one of the most significant integrated transport, logistics and tourism development programmes announced in the Hashemite kingdom of Jordan in recent years,” said Capt Mohamed Al Shamsi, group chief executive of AD Ports Group.
“These ambitious projects will significantly expand the facilities available to travellers and businesses via sea, land and air. This in turn will help grow the trade and tourism sectors, while strengthening Aqaba’s status as a major regional hub and support the kingdom’s economic development plans.”
The deal comes close on the heels of AD Ports partnering with Aqaba Development Corporation in September to establish a cruise terminal at Marsa Zayed in Aqaba, which will serve as a gateway for passengers visiting the Red Sea. It will be the first project to be developed by AD Ports Group in Jordan and its first cruise facility outside the UAE.
AD Ports Group owns and manages 11 ports and terminals in the UAE and Guinea, including Khalifa Port, Zayed Port, Mussaffah Port, Fujairah Terminals, Kamsar Port and Abu Dhabi Cruise Terminal. It operates more than 550 square kilometres of industrial zones within Khalifa Industrial Zone Abu Dhabi and ZonesCorp, the largest integrated trade, logistics and industrial business group in the Middle East.
Maqta Gateway, the digital arm of AD Ports Group, signed a joint venture deal with Aqaba Development Corporation to establish Maqta Ayla to develop and operate an advanced ports community system. The system will oversee communication among the Port of Aqaba and terminal operators, as well as the Aqaba Special Economic Zone Authority, Aqaba Development Corporation, Jordan Maritime Commission and other stakeholders within the port’s ecosystem, AD Ports Group said.
The system is expected to complete about two million digital transactions per year, generate considerable cost and time savings, reduce carbon emissions and streamline services, it said.
The agreement to develop King Hussein International Airport in Aqaba is aimed at increasing volumes of international and domestic tourism, ensuring a seamless journey for passengers between the airport and the Aqaba Cruise Terminal, according to the statement.
Stressing the importance of its collaboration with AD Ports Group Aqaba Development Corporation’s chief executive Hussein Alsafadi said the strategic partnership will help in “creating investment and job opportunities, while also advancing the role of Aqaba as a key regional hub in trade, logistics, and maritime and air transportation”.
Abu Dhabi Ports’ owner, ADQ, revealed plans to list it on the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange, subject to market conditions and regulatory approvals.
In the past few months, AD Ports Group has signed a number of deals across the region strengthening co-operation in transport and maritime sectors.
In September, the company signed an agreement with the General Company for Ports of Iraq to explore investment opportunities.
In November, the UAE company signed an agreement with the Egyptian Group for Multipurpose Terminals, the commercial arm of the Egyptian Ministry of Transportation, to develop and operate a multipurpose terminal in Safaga Port on the Red Sea.
New partnerships, business diversification and volume growth led to AD Ports Group reaping revenue of Dh2.79 billion ($760 million) during the first nine months of 2021, a 22 per cent increase over the same period last year.