What is KIZAD's role in the diversification of Abu Dhabi's economy?
KIZAD is playing 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 to move away from hydrocarbon dependence and ensure a strong, sustainable economy. By investing in infrastructure, technologies and innovations, local and international talent, KIZAD is helping drive diversification. Currently, KIZAD and Abu Dhabi Ports together contribute 3.6% (AED19.6 billion) to Abu Dhabi's non-oil GDP and by 2030 we estimate that our contribution will reach 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 industry we have attracted, from automotive and metals to polymers, food and beverage, and oil and gas. There are many reasons for this, for example our strategic location between Dubai and Abu Dhabi, having Khalifa Port on our doorstep and innovative and flexible infrastructure that has been built for expansion. However, I believe that one of the biggest factors of our success has been understanding the needs of each individual customer then going above and beyond to ensure we deliver what matters to their business the most.
What industrial sectors does KIZAD focus on, and how does it develop this focus?
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 support these industries; logistics and utilities. One of the elements that is attractive to these industries at KIZAD is how the zone is made up of multiple industrial clusters. Through these we allocate land by grouping certain industries and service providers together based on how best they can benefit one another. As a result, firms can create value by leveraging our anchor tenants and facilitating synergies and operational efficiencies.
How does KIZAD interact with the wider UAE economy, and how does it complement economic activities in Dubai?
Our strategy is forward thinking and long term, driven by an even longer vision of building trade, logistics and industry across the UAE as a whole. This is a vision shared by everyone in our industry across the country. This is still very much a growth region in the early stages of industrialization. This industrialization is driving the demand for ports and logistics services in the region and is one of the reasons why its GDP impact here is significantly higher than other parts of the world. We want the UAE to be the location of choice for those seeking to benefit from this growth, and we also want to support our homegrown businesses to capitalize on this potential. After all, the more successful industry is as a whole, the more everyone will benefit. Of course, there will be an element of competition, but that's a good thing. Healthy competition provides customers with broader options and developers with greater incentives to improve their services and offerings. Fortunately, we have a strong value proposition; the combination of Khalifa Ports' assets, Abu Dhabi's growing industrial sector, plus KIZAD's innovation is a value proposition that is not typical for the region and puts us in an excellent position to thrive and grow.
As most industrial zones tend to fail, 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. Where the government has funded our infrastructure, we are repaying this in the form of a dividend. Four years on from attaining financial independence, we have become a very profitable business. However, we aren't complacent and will continue to exercise prudence in how we expand. One of the reasons for 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, 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 in so many sectors. And, 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. So, as you can see, we have both a very 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 we 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. Just look at some of the innovations that are already up and running, such as the Hot Metal Road, a specially constructed route that enables the cost effective and energy efficient transport and delivery of molten aluminium. Then there is the Modular Path, an eight-lane highway designed to enable large plant and equipment to be transported directly between Khalifa Port and KIZAD customers. We have also specifically designed and built a Sea Water Cooling and Desalination System to ensure water returning to the sea is cooled down and causes no harm to marine life. Meanwhile, Abu Dhabi Ports, our parent company, was the first entity in the Middle East to build a semi-automated port, and Maqta Gateway, our sister organization, is today using the latest blockchain technology to find new ways to make trade faster, easier and more secure. Ultimately, KIZAD is much larger than just the organization developing and managing the zone and our vision on innovation is much larger too. The zone is a sum of all our industries, businesses and residents. We are confident that in next 10 to 15 years, KIZAD will be the most vibrant industrial hub in the region. Our investors come from different backgrounds, bring with them unique technologies and are initiating some very complex and interesting business and industrial ventures. Our objective is to work with them and create an environment of collaboration and innovation that will make us one of the most pioneering industrial hubs in the world. And by enabling trade and industrial investments through such innovation, we will set new standards for industrial zone infrastructure, environment and operation. One of our industrial companies such as TELEX developing a special alloy for producing automotive components for Porsche, or a logistics company creating an innovative process to get the products to market faster, is as much a matter of pride for us as our sister company Maqta Gateway creating a new blockchain-based solution for shipping and trade, or indeed we at KIZAD developing a new solution to serve the industry. The objective is to be innovative to constantly improve the life of businesses and the people we touch.