How vital are the ports in Abu Dhabi with regard to diversifying the economy?
Abu Dhabi Ports is a key enabler of the Emirate's economic diversification. Our company contributed more than AED14 billion to Abu Dhabi's GDP and generated over 39,500 new direct and indirect job opportunities in 2014. As the maritime trade business enabler, the activities of Abu Dhabi Ports in its entirety accounted for 2.9% of the Emirate's non-oil GDP, which resulted in a rise of nearly 2% of overall employment in Abu Dhabi's non-oil economy. Our contribution to the expansion of the Emirate's tourism sector, a major component of its economic diversification, was also significant. Growth in the cruise business generated an estimated value-added contribution to the Abu Dhabi economy of over AED71 million and resulted in the employment of more than 300 people. The Khalifa Industrial Zone (Kizad), the integrated trade and industrial hub of Abu Dhabi, improved its value-added contribution to AED6.1 billion, and created over 3,600 employment opportunities in 2014.
Can you describe Khalifa Port's integration within the industrial zone?
Kizad's integrated design with Khalifa Port has the potential to meet the future demands of industrial and logistic sectors in Abu Dhabi. Kizad has created clusters for certain industries together, whose offerings can be mutually beneficial to boost their business. As the products and services offered by an investor are utilized by others within the cluster, it becomes a circle of value creation. The “economies of proximity" offer convenient and cost-effective business operations. The aluminum cluster with Emirates Aluminum (EMAL/EGA) is an example. EMAL will convey aluminum to other manufacturers in the zone in hot molten form through our innovative Hot Metal Road, transported by specially fitted trucks. This molten aluminum will also be directly used by other industries in the cluster like TALEX, saving substantial energy and costs of re-melting the aluminum.
How is the cruise sector developing after Zayed Port was upgraded?
The newly opened Abu Dhabi Cruise Terminal at Zayed Port, a premier cruise hub in the region, has received an unprecedented number of passengers. The state-of-the-art terminal's innovative and efficient mechanism has proved successful in handling the burgeoning number of cruisers, contributed by the homeporting of a global cruise liner, MSC Musica of MSC Cruises. This luxury cruise vessel alone will bring 45,000 of a total of 205,000 cruise passengers scheduled to visit Abu Dhabi during the current cruise season ending April. This rise in number of cruisers during this season will represent over 19% growth compared with the previous season, and a five-fold surge since the first cruise season in 2006-2007. This remarkable growth is projected to reach more than 300,000 passengers expected on 130 scheduled ship calls by the 2019-2020 season.
In 2014, Khalifa Port was the third-fastest growing container port in the world, and the fastest growing in the region. How was this achieved?
Khalifa Port achieved 32% growth in container cargo volumes and a 27% upswing in RoRo traffic in 2015 compared with the previous year. Our strategic priority to achieve innovation and deploy advanced port technology and well-planned infrastructure expansion made this possible. The increased investments in Kizad and the favorable factors of the Abu Dhabi economy also played a major role. Our significant investments in technology, world-class infrastructure, and services have enhanced our customer experience. The implementation of Maqta Gateway, a new purpose-built port community system, and Jade's terminal operating system is expected to further improve our productivity and efficiency. The new productivity records set by Abu Dhabi Terminals also contributed to the growth. As part of our constant efforts for efficiency improvement, a 12-minute turnaround time for trucks has raised Khalifa Port's profile as an international maritime hub. We have introduced a range of new mobile applications and internal services, including an e-Pass service that helps customers submit all of their security details online in advance. Our YoY growth indicates that we have responded well to demands from rising import and export activities in the Emirate.