UAE's AD Ports Group inaugurates Aqaba Cruise Terminal in Jordan

More than 50 vessels are scheduled to dock at the terminal over the next four months

Sheikh Khalifa bin Mohammed Al Nahyan, UAE ambassador to Jordan (second from right), and Tawfiq Kreishan, Jordan's Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Local Administration (third from right), at the inauguration of Aqaba Cruise Terminal. Photo: AD Ports
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The UAE's Abu Dhabi Ports Group and Jordan inaugurated the first cruise terminal in the Jordanian coastal city of Aqaba on Monday, coinciding with the arrival of the cruise vessel MSC Splendida which is carrying more than 2,000 visitors.

The Aqaba Cruise Terminal marks the launch of the first of five strategic mega-projects planned between AD Ports Group and Aqaba Development Corporation to advance the coastal city’s tourism, logistics and transport sectors.

Under the agreement, AD Ports Group will develop, manage and operate the Aqaba Cruise Terminal, a stop for international cruise passengers visiting Jordan, specifically Aqaba, Petra and Wadi Rum.

More than 50 vessels are scheduled to dock at the terminal over the next four months, bringing tens of thousands of visitors to the popular winter-sun destination, the two companies said.

Trade value between the UAE and Jordan was about $3 billion last year, and the Emirates’ investments in Jordan reached more than $17 billion, said Sheikh Khalifa bin Mohammed Al Nahyan, the UAE ambassador to Jordan.

“The UAE is a key strategic partner for Jordan in a number of fields and is keen to propel mutual economic and investment co-operation to greater heights, while building on existing partnerships across different domains," Sheikh Khalifa said.

“Ties between the UAE and Jordan have been strengthened even further thanks to the progressive vision and interests of both countries, representing a robust and growing strategic partnership across several vital areas."

The Aqaba Cruise Terminal comprises a 700-metre quay wall, passenger and luggage hall, indoor retail spaces, free Wi-Fi, prayer rooms and offices.

It is a one-stop-shop for government stakeholders serving the cruise business, improving procedures and services.

It is an attractive destination for cruise lines, increasing ship call opportunities and passenger volumes, while boosting the overall economy.

“We remain committed to transforming the city of Aqaba into a competitive investment, commercial and tourism destination on the Red Sea, and the successful inauguration of the Aqaba Cruise Terminal today aligns with these endeavours,” said Nayef Fayez, chief commissioner of the Aqaba Special Economic Zone Authority, and chairman of Aqaba Development Corporation.

Apart from the terminal, four strategic agreements are planned between AD Ports and Aqaba Development Corporation.

They concern the development of Marsa Zayed, the Maqta Ayla advanced ports community system, the Aqaba Multipurpose Port, and the development, management and operation of King Hussein International Airport.

The new projects aim to make Aqaba a catalyst for investment attraction and economic development.

Last week, AD Ports Group, the operator of industrial cities and free zones in Abu Dhabi, announced its partnership with Angolan organisations to enhance maritime connectivity along Africa’s west coast.

Established in 2006, AD Ports Group owns and operates 10 ports in the UAE.

They include Khalifa Port, Zayed Port, Mussaffah Port, Fujairah Terminals, Community Ports, Kamsar Port and the Abu Dhabi Cruise Terminal.

It also operates a terminal in Guinea.

Updated: January 24, 2023, 2:28 AM