In an important milestone for the ports sector in the Middle East region, Cosco Shipping Ports and Abu Dhabi Ports have jointly inaugurated the new CSP Abu Dhabi Terminal at Khalifa Port. The investment in the new facility, which to date totals around AED 1.1 billion in terms of construction work and machinery, will make Abu Dhabi the regional hub for the Cosco group and strengthens Abu Dhabi’s connections to the Chinese company’s global network.
The newly opened CSP Abu Dhabi Terminal has a design capacity of 2.5 million teu. Initially it will be able to handle around 1.5 million teu, on 1200 m of quay. The water depth of the terminal is 16.5 m, allowing it to accommodate large containerships carrying in excess of 20,000 teu.
Trial operations are due to start in April next year. Volumes will then be gradually ramped up until the terminal is fully operational in the third quarter of 2019.
As well as hi-tech container handling equipment, the deep-water container terminal includes the largest Container Freight Station (CFS) in the Middle East, covering 275,000 m2. This offers facilities for full and partial bonded container shipments, a wide range of container packing services and short-term warehousing for deconsolidated cargo, all with easy connectivity to other container handling terminals in Khalifa Port.
The partnership with Cosco Shipping Ports, which is based around a 35-year lease agreement for the terminal, is part of a five-year strategy by Abu Dhabi Ports. This aims to strengthen the maritime sector in Abu Dhabi and drive economic diversification, in line with Abu Dhabi Economic Vision 2030, by increasing regional trade and attracting foreign direct investment. Abu Dhabi Ports plans to make a total investment of AED 10 billion to increase container throughput capacity at Khalifa Port from 5 million teu currently to 9.1 million teu. This includes a project to boost capacity at Terminal 1 to more than 5 million teu.
The terminal was formally inaugurated at a ceremony at Khalifa Port by His Highness Sheikh Hamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Chairman of Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Court. The event was also attended by His Highness Sheikh Theyab bin Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Chairman of the Department of Transport; His Excellency Ning Jizhe, Deputy Director of China’s National Development and Reform Commission; His Excellency Dr. Sultan Al Jaber, the UAE Minister of State and Chairman of Abu Dhabi Ports; His Excellency He Jianzhong, Deputy Minister of Ministry of Transport of the PRC; His Excellency Ni Jian, Ambassador of the PRC in the UAE; Captain Xu Lirong, Chairman of China Cosco Shipping Corporation Limited; Captain Mohamed Juma Al Shamisi, CEO of Abu Dhabi Ports; and Zhang Wei, Vice Chairman and Managing Director of Cosco Shipping Ports.
His Highness Sheikh Theyab bin Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, said, “The decision by Cosco Shipping Ports to invest in Abu Dhabi is a testament to our strategic location, attractive business environment and supportive regulation. We believe that it will open the door to more foreign direct investment in the Emirate.”
The importance of the project was also stressed by Captain Xu Lirong, Chairman of Cosco Shipping. He added: “We will support the development of the terminal to the fullest extent of our capability by developing shipping routes and a transshipment network to drive the volume growth of CSP Abu Dhabi Terminal. The terminal is set to be a pivot for us to develop a global maritime hub for international transshipment and logistics.”
The semi-automatic terminal is designed to serve mainline vessels of all sizes and will be connected by dedicated feeder services. Cosco plans to develop Abu Dhabi as a regional logistics and trade hub and link it with other industrial free zones to expand and diversify the economy.
Speaking at the inauguration, Captain Mohamed Juma Al Shamisi, CEO of Abu Dhabi Ports, concluded: “CSP Abu Dhabi Terminal connects Khalifa Port to COSCO’s global network, making it not only one of the largest ports across the Middle East and Indian subcontinent, but a global maritime hub. Abu Dhabi’s strategic location as a gateway to the MENA region makes it an important partner for China’s Belt and Road Initiative, connecting Asia with Africa and Europe via land and maritime networks along six corridors.”