EZW to open economic zone in Basra

The hub is part of the company's plans to expand its global presence despite the financial downturn.

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Economic Zones World (EZW), the Dubai World-owned developer of economic zones and industrial parks, is eyeing opportunities for the development of a logistics hub at the port of Basra in Iraq. The hub is part of EZW's plans to expand its global presence despite the financial downturn and will be modeled on its Jebel Ali Freezone (JAFZA) project. It will also be an opportunity for EZW to get closer to its customers as well as bring global businesses closer to their customers in the region, according to Talal al Hashimi, the managing director of EZW.

About five cargo and passenger vessels currently travel between Dubai and Basra. "Because we have already established this connection, it makes sense to develop a logistics park near the port in Basra," said Mr al Hashimi. "It's about being closer to our consumers." EZW also plans to move ahead with projects in the US, China and India over the coming year. It has also stepped up its sales strategy to attract more companies from Europe, the US and Asia to JAFZA.

About 1,600 companies are currently based in the industrial zone, while 1,000 are on a waiting list. Between 60 and 70 per cent of the zone will be occupied by the end of this year. "We're still working at the same strength as we were before the crisis," said Ibrahim Al Janahi, chief commercial officer at EZW. "We might change our direction and where we target, such as which country and industry, but we're still growing at the same speed. There are opportunities for us in other countries and this is what we're targeting now."