Abu Dhabi Ports, which operates ports, industrial cities and free zones in the emirate, has partnered with the Aqaba Development Corporation to establish a cruise terminal at the Marsa Zayed project in Aqaba, Jordan.
It will be the first terminal to be developed by Abu Dhabi Ports in Jordan and its first cruise facility outside the UAE, state news agency Wam said on Sunday.
The agreement, which is the first in a series of strategic partnerships with Abu Dhabi Ports, was signed during a visit to Abu Dhabi by a delegation from Jordan, led by Nayef Altheeb, chief commissioner of Aqaba Special Economic Zone Authority, Wam reported.
“The creation and operation of a new cruise terminal at Marsa Zayed will be a milestone for Jordan’s fast-growing cruise and tourism sector, and is the first of many enhancement projects that we have planned,” said Capt Mohamed Al Shamsi, group chief executive of Abu Dhabi Ports.
Owned by one of the region’s largest holding companies, ADQ, Abu Dhabi Ports plans to list on the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange later this year. The listing is subject to market conditions and regulatory approvals, ADQ said this month.
Abu Dhabi Ports owns and manages 11 ports and terminals in the UAE and Guinea, including Khalifa Port, Zayed Port, Musaffah Port, Fujairah Terminals, Community Ports, Kamsar Port and Abu Dhabi Cruise Terminal. It operates more than 550 square kilometres of industrial zones within Khalifa Industrial Zone Abu Dhabi (Kizad) and ZonesCorp, the largest integrated trade, logistics and industrial business grouping in the Middle East.
The new cruise terminal will serve as a gateway in the Port of Aqaba that will receive cruise-ship passengers visiting the Red Sea, the statement said. It will also serve as a major attraction for residents of Aqaba, with tourism, commercial and entertainment services.
Abu Dhabi Ports will also manage the implementation of an advanced port community system, which will oversee communication between Aqaba ports and terminal operators, the Aqaba Special Economic Zone Authority, Aqaba Development Corporation, Jordan Maritime Commission, customs, support services and on-land connections for the Port of Aqaba, according to Wam.
“In addition, as part of our continued commitment to support the growth of Jordan’s maritime industry, Abu Dhabi Ports is leveraging its digital expertise to implement a robust port community system at the Aqaba ports ecosystem that will accelerate the exchange of goods and elevate commerce to new heights,” Capt Al Shamsi said.
Abu Dhabi Ports will work closely with the Aqaba Development Corporation to deploy the digital system to expand the technical capacity and capabilities of Aqaba ports, the Wam report added.
“This agreement … falls in line with the wider co-operation between Jordan and the UAE,” said Hussein Alsafadi, chief executive of Aqaba Development Corporation. “Through their ambitious development of ports in Abu Dhabi and around the world, they have demonstrated their ability to evolve and drive growth in the maritime sector.”
Developing the cruise terminal will significantly support the growth of Jordan’s tourism sector, create new jobs and strengthen Aqaba’s status as major regional hub, Mr Alsafadi added.
“It will also facilitate the movement of cruise ship passengers arriving from countries across the Mediterranean Sea and Europe,” he said.
Aqaba Development Corporation was launched in 2004 and is the central development arm of the Aqaba Special Economic Zone Authority, according to its website. It is mandated to build new infrastructure, expand existing utilities, create necessary business enablers and operate key facilities for the SEZ.