Abu Dhabi Ports and China’s Cosco Shipping Ports broke ground for the construction of a new container terminal at Khalifa Port during a high-profile event on Sunday.
A new agreement between Cosco Shipping and Abu Dhabi Ports was also signed during the ceremony for development of a container freight station, which will be the largest in the region.
It forms part of ambitious plans to more than double the container-handling capacity at Khalifa Port over the next several years.
Abu Dhabi Ports, which operates Khalifa Port, last year signed a 35-year concession agreement with Cocso to operate a new $700 million terminal that will add 2.4 million twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) a year to the port’s existing capacity of 2.5 million TEUs. Cosco Shipping also has an option to increase the capacity by a further 1.1 million containers.
The move is part of Abu Dhabi’s broader strategy to develop the port as a regional hub and link it with industrial free zones to expand and diversify the economy.
The event was attended by Sheikh Diab bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Chairman of the Department of Transport and member of the Abu Dhabi Executive Council.
Dr Sultan Al Jaber, the UAE Minister of State and Chairman of Abu Dhabi Ports, and Ning Jizhe, Deputy Director of China’s National Development and Reform Commission, also presided over the event and witnessed the unveiling of the ground-breaking plaque as well as the signing ceremony for the new container freight station.
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The new station will provide Abu Dhabi trade with a state of the art facility offering bonded 'LCL/FCL' (Full Container Load / Less than Container Load) consolidation and de-consolidation services, cross stuffing, cargo weight reduction, short term warehousing for de-consolidated cargo as well as easy connectivity with the container terminals in Khalifa Port.
Speaking on the occasion, Dr Sultan Al Jaber said: "Following the guidance and vision of the leadership, Abu Dhabi Ports has played an important role in expanding trading links between the UAE and China, which is now the UAE’s second largest trading partner.
“The partnership between Abu Dhabi Ports and Cosco Shipping Ports to develop the region’s largest container freight station will add a new dimension to UAE-China trade relations and is fully aligned with Abu Dhabi’s Vision 2030 to drive growth, attract investment, support economic diversification and create sustainable jobs."
Mr Jizhe in turn said: "Khalifa Port is one of the fastest growing ports and an important gateway port in the region, with huge potential and prospect. Cosco Shipping Ports is marching another step forward in the port development project with Abu Dhabi Ports.
"The solid progression of the CFS project writes a new chapter between China and the UAE, in terms of infrastructure investment, construction and service sector, and bears new fruit for the Belt and Road cooperation between the two countries, injecting new energy to solidify and promote China-UAE economic and trade cooperation, thus providing new contributions," he added.