Abu Dhabi Maritime, which oversees the emirate's waterways and marine ecosystems, has taken over the management of all ferry services operating within the capital's waterways.
Operating under AD Ports Group, with guidance from the Department of Municipalities and Transport (DMT), the organisation is integrating the Ferry Operations Branch of the Integrated Transport Centre (ITC) under the scope of its services, Abu Dhabi Maritime said in a statement on Friday.
The move will include the entity managing and overseeing daily operations of the emirate's two major ferry lines — the Dalma Island Water Transport Service, which connects Dalma Island and Jebel Dhanna Port, and Al Aliah Island Water Transport Service, which connects Al Aliah Island and Al Saadiyat Island.
The transition is in line with Abu Dhabi Maritime’s mandate to position the emirate as a top global maritime centre through development of user-friendly regulation, advanced infrastructure and quality services.
“The move will also support developing the maritime transport infrastructure further to serve the growing number of ferry users and will ensure a smoother experience for all commuters,” said Hamad Al Mutawa, executive director of Planning and Infrastructure Sector at DMT.
“This will also provide a sustained push to attract more tourists, support the economic development and give residents and tourists alike a safe, comfortable and reliable travel option in the emirate.”
As part of its new responsibilities, the organisation will also drive the development of several key business areas related to ferry operations. These include building new infrastructure such as ferry stations, the acquisition of vessels, improving staff capabilities, fostering third-party contractor relationships and leading the digitalisation of Abu Dhabi’s ferry services.
“Offering a world-class ferry service for vehicle and passenger traffic is a hallmark of a well-developed maritime capital, and the transition will help enhance the sector’s contribution to Abu Dhabi’s non-oil GDP [gross domestic product] by enhancing user experience and further attracting the local and global community to explore all that our maritime domain has to offer,” said Capt Mohamed Juma Al Shamisi, group chief executive of Abu Dhabi Ports.
Abu Dhabi Maritime was established in 2020 to develop a regulatory framework and drive the development of modern infrastructure and world-class services.
“The transfer of all ferry services under the jurisdiction of Abu Dhabi Maritime marks yet another critical step in our organisation’s efforts to consolidate all related water transport services under a single umbrella,” said Saif Al Mheiri, managing director of Abu Dhabi Maritime at AD Ports Group.
“We will support and oversee the ferry services’ daily operations and the future expansion of their activities in line with the overall growth of our maritime sector.”
In addition to optimising operations and achieving new levels of efficiency across all ferry-related activities, Abu Dhabi Maritime aims to further improve the user experience through innovation and digitalisation,” Mr Al Mheiri added.
This will include an online digital ticketing system and integrating with other related water transport services, he said.