Abu Dhabi: Years of meticulous planning and disciplined execution culminated today with the commencement of commercial operations by Abu Dhabi Ports Company (ADPC) at the state-of-the-art flagship Khalifa Port, the most technically advanced port in the MENA region.
Khalifa Port is one of the pioneering accomplishments resulting from the visionary leadership of Abu Dhabi which will make a major contribution towards achieving the Abu Dhabi Economic Vision 2030 of a sustainable and diversified economy.
The original investment decision to expand port capacity has proved to be highly intelligent and prudent. Abu Dhabi has been furnished with port facilities which have increased steadily to meet the region’s economic growth. The investment in ports has undoubtedly stimulated growth by constantly expanding capacity in line with growing market demand.
In 2012, Mina Zayed celebrated 40 years as a highly successful port – it is expected to reach maximum container capacity by the end of the year due to sustained growth within Abu Dhabi. This has been well planned for long in advance and, with perfect timing, all of Mina Zayed’s container traffic will have been transferred to Khalifa Port by the end of Q1 2013.
Mina Zayed will then continue with commercial cargo, and concentrate on developing the growing cruise liner business at the port. It is ideally situated in the heart of the city centre. The degree of planning around the development of these business assets has been impressive and underlines Abu Dhabi’s rigorous approach of only constructing port capacity or developing existing ports, when the market for it already exists.
Khalifa Port formally received its first ship from a commercial customer at 07.00, the precise target time set in the original 100 steps construction plan. The ship was the MSC Bari which is one of the largest and newest container ships in the world. MSC Bari is 366 metres long, 51 metres wide, has a gross tonnage of over 153,000 tons and is capable of transporting 14,000 containers.
The end of the ADPC countdown to 07.00.00 was marked by a spectacular display of synchronized movements by the port’s six giant STS (Ship to Shore) cranes – among the largest of their kind in the world – and 100 metre water fountains shooting from two new ADPC tugboats, the Al Durrah and Al Fenci, all set to the sound of the ships’ horns booming out across the port.
Addressing ADPC’s Board of Directors, employees and stakeholders as commercial operations commenced Dr Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, Chairman, ADPC said: “This is a proud day for ADPC and also for Abu Dhabi Emirate as the company demonstrates its commitment to fulfilling its role in the Abu Dhabi Economic Vision 2030. I would like to thank the Government, our shareholders, our partners, staff and, of course, our customers without which this would not have been possible.” Khalifa Port is designed to be rolled out in phases should market demand require it.
For example, the innovative technology and infrastructure is highly flexible, creating economies of scale which will reduce the cost should there be demand for future expansion. The port has been dredged to be deeper than needed to accommodate ever larger ships. Khalifa Port’s world class ship to shore cranes are among the largest in the world and have been built not only to be able to unload the world’s mightiest ships today, but to be able to handle even greater vessels that might be developed in years to come.
Tony Douglas, CEO, ADPC, said: “I am delighted to confirm that the port has been delivered within budget, on schedule and to specification. We are grateful to the wise leadership of Abu Dhabi for entrusting Khalifa Port to our company. We are proud to say that we have delivered it, executing highly disciplined strategies. We look forward to a bright economic future for Khalifa Port, for Khalifa Industrial Zone Abu Dhabi (Kizad) and for the Emirate as a whole.” At the heart of Khalifa Port is the advanced Terminal Operational Building which houses state-of-the-art computer technology used to control much of the container terminal.
It is the long term investment thinking in features such as Khalifa Port’s sophisticated digital infrastructure which allows Abu Dhabi to offer shipping lines and trucking companies streamlined logistics with shorter container transportation times at highly competitive costs.
Khalifa Port’s container terminal will be operated by the leading port operator, Abu Dhabi Terminals (ADT). Commenting as he took over the running of the container terminal from ADPC, Martijn Van de Linde, Chief Executive Officer, ADT said: “In Khalifa Port ADPC has created an immensely powerful engine that will be at the heart of Abu Dhabi’s economic growth and diversification for many years into the future. The port is a technical triumph delivering the world’s most advanced and efficient, globally competitive services for our business customers.
We are delighted to bring this marvelous piece of engineering to life with the start of commercial trading today and to commence our stewardship of this economically significant national asset.” Khalifa Port’s container terminal has a capacity of 2.5 million TEUs (containers) a year, with an additional 12 million tons of general cargo, including 4 million tons a year from the busy Emirates Aluminum (EMAL) berth which opened in late 2010.
The port’s landmark features include the UAE’s longest bridge (the Emirates Aluminum trestle bridge at over one kilometre in length) and the multi-award winning Environmental Protection Breakwater, the eight kilometre arm that curls around the port to protect the Ras Ghanada coral reef, the only example of its kind in the Arabian Gulf.
Captain Mohamed Al Shamisi, Executive Vice President, Ports’ Unit, ADPC concluded events by stating: “It is very satisfying to see Khalifa Port fully open with its magnificent infrastructure. As an Emirati, I feel great pride in my nation’s achievement and in ADPC for completing the first phase of the giant complex. This is just the beginning, however. We look forward to exciting expansion in the future, should in response to market.