AD Ports Group, the operator of industrial cities and free zones in Abu Dhabi, signed two agreements with Uzbekistan as it continues to focus on expanding its operations globally.
The company has begun a new joint venture with Uzbekistan’s oil and gas company SEG (Sanoat Energetika Guruhi) for the development of logistics and freight infrastructure in the central Asian country.
As part of the agreement, the two companies will develop logistics and freight forwarding services in Uzbekistan, including intermodal freight forwarding, road, rail and air transport services, AD Ports said in a statement on Wednesday to the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange, where its shares are traded.
They will also focus on developing inland ports and container depots, warehousing and other logistics infrastructure to help the country grow its international trade.
“This is a major new agreement that will help transform trade and logistics for Uzbekistan, which has a fast-growing economy and rich natural resources," said Capt Mohamed Al Shamisi, managing director and group chief executive of AD Ports Group.
"Our strategic investment in infrastructure and capabilities will help support international companies by opening new points of entry into central Asian markets and ensuring the highest levels of service and support."
The company also signed a separate deal with SEG to develop a food trading hub in the country to "enhance Uzbekistan’s food trade across global markets and drive Central Asian food security”, AD ports said.
The centre, near Samarkand International Airport, will be operated by SEG subsidiary Marakand Logain, according to the statement.
AD Ports will also set up its overseas office in Uzbekistan to support the project.
The latest agreements come after AD Ports signed a preliminary agreement with Enter Engineering Group to launch new logistics and freight businesses in Uzbekistan last month.
"Uzbekistan is a major producer of key export commodities, including oil, natural gas, and gold, and the second largest exporter of cotton in the world," said Bakhtiyor Fazilov, chairman of the SEG board.
With the new joint venture, "we will be able to bring a wider range of our products to the global market, which is fully consistent with the policy of our country and the policy of transforming SEG into a vertically integrated company", he said.
AD Ports Group, which made its debut on the ADX in February after raising Dh4 billion ($1.08bn) from its share sale, is planning to expand globally. Last week, the company said it will acquire a 70 per cent stake in Egypt's International Associated Cargo Carrier for Dh514 million to expand its footprint in the Arab world’s most populous country and the wider region.
It also signed a partnership agreement with the Aqaba Development Corporation to develop tourism, logistics, transport and digital infrastructure in the Jordanian coastal city as well as a deal with the Egyptian Group for Multipurpose Terminals in November last year to develop and operate a multipurpose terminal at Safaga Port on the Red Sea.
It is also exploring investment opportunities in Iraq after signing an agreement with the General Company for Ports of Iraq in September.
Established in 2006, AD Ports Group owns and operates 10 ports in the UAE, including Khalifa Port, Zayed Port, Mussaffah Port, Fujairah Terminals, Community Ports, Kamsar Port and the Abu Dhabi Cruise Terminal, as well as a terminal in Guinea.
It also manages more than 550 square kilometres of industrial zones and an end-to-end logistics business, besides offering a range of maritime services.