May. 27, 2020

Samir Chaturvedi

UAE, Abu Dhabi

Samir Chaturvedi

CEO, Khalifa Industrial Zone Abu Dhabi (KIZAD)

KIZAD's innovations, Khalifa Ports' assets, and Abu Dhabi's growing industrial sector form a value proposition that will transform KIZAD into the most vibrant regional industrial hub.


Samir Chaturvedi is the CEO of KIZAD, the integrated trade and industrial hub of Abu Dhabi. He oversees KIZAD's portfolio of assets, activities, operations, and growth strategy. He brings over 35 years of experience working with global organizations in the fields of logistics, shipping, supply chain management, automotive, infrastructure, and real estate development. Prior to joining Abu Dhabi Ports, Chaturvedi held the position of senior vice president with Economic Zones World (EZW) and Jafza. Chaturvedi is an alumnus of Harvard University's Graduate School of Design (GSD), the Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport (CILT), and Annamalai University.

What is KIZAD's role in the diversification of Abu Dhabi's economy?
KIZAD plays an integral role in the realization of Abu Dhabi Economic Vision 2030. As a master developer, we have created an integrated trade, logistics, and industrial hub for the Emirate, helping it move away from hydrocarbon dependence to a strong, sustainable economy. By investing in infrastructure, technology and innovation, and local and international talent, KIZAD is helping drive diversification. At present, KIZAD and Abu Dhabi Ports together contribute 3.6% (AED19.6 billion) to Abu Dhabi's non-oil GDP, and by 2030, we plan to boost our contribution to 15%. Already, more than 400 companies have committed investment to KIZAD, which is a remarkable achievement in such a short space of time. Equally impressive is the diverse range of industries we have attracted, from automotive and metals to polymers, food and beverage, and oil and gas. There are many reasons for this, such as our strategic location between Dubai and Abu Dhabi, Khalifa Port, and innovative and flexible infrastructure that has been built for expansion. One of the biggest factors behind our success has been understanding the needs of each individual client, and then going above and beyond to ensure we deliver what matters to their business the most.

What industrial sectors does KIZAD focus on?
As per Abu Dhabi Economic Vision 2030, KIZAD targets nine areas of industry, of which seven form our immediate focus. The first five are polymers, ferrous and non-ferrous metals, food, oil and gas, and automotive. The other two, logistics and utilities, support these industries.
One of the elements that is attractive to these industries at KIZAD is how the zone is made up of multiple industrial clusters. We allocate land by grouping certain industries and service providers together. As a result, firms can create value by leveraging our anchor tenants and facilitating synergies and operational efficiencies.

How has KIZAD become financially sustainable?
I have seen many zones around the world that are announced with a big fanfare. However, the majority fail, largely because they are subsidized to a level where they never learn to stand on their own feet. At KIZAD and Abu Dhabi Ports, we are not only operationally independent from the government, but financially independent as well. Four years after attaining financial independence, we have become a highly profitable business. However, we aren't complacent and will continue to exercise prudence in how we expand. One of the reasons behind our success is that we target customers who are sustainable and able to serve the market. We want those who can stand on their own feet and deliver value to the economy. Equally significant, KIZAD, with its road, sea, air and future rail connectivity to the UAE and GCC region, provides an excellent base for manufacturing, trading, and logistics industries. Unlike other industrial, logistics, and manufacturing zones, KIZAD is not hindered by urban congestion or ageing infrastructure—its offers superior multimodal connectivity via its road networks and highways, Khalifa Port, and four nearby international airports. We have both a strong offer and a sustainable strategy.

How does KIZAD encourage innovation in Abu Dhabi's industrial sector?
Innovation is at the core of everything we do, and we are constantly assessing ways to harness emerging technologies and trends to improve our processes and operations so our clients can improve their efficiency in turn. As a zone development and management organization, we have always focused on how small innovative ideas in infrastructure and services can positively impact our customers. One example is the Hot Metal Road, a specially constructed route that enables cost effective and energy efficient transport and delivery of molten aluminium. We have also specifically designed and built a sea water cooling and desalination system to ensure water returning to the sea causes no harm to marine life. We are confident that within the next 10 to 15 years, KIZAD will become the most vibrant industrial hub in the region.