The Business Year

HE Khaled S.A. Salmeen

UAE, ABU DHABI - Industry

The Heavy Lifting

CEO & Managing Director, Khalifa Industrial Zone Abu Dhabi (Kizad)


HE Khaled S.A. Salmeen is the CEO and Managing Director of the Khalifa Industrial Zone Abu Dhabi (Kizad), bringing extensive local and international experience in the fields of infrastructure development, utilities, and energy, including design, operations, maintenance, and project management, gained while at firms including Masdar, Borouge, and Tabreed. As a Mechanical Project and Design Engineer graduate from the US, he helped design and manage the construction of celebrated sporting facilities there, such as the Denver Nuggets’ Pepsi Center, the Detroit Tigers’ Comerica Park, and the Philips Arena in Atlanta, the world’s first LEED-certified NBA basketball center.

What investment opportunities does the opening of Khalifa Industrial Zone Abu Dhabi (Kizad) present for companies operating in the GCC? Kizad is part of an initiative to promote industrial development […]

What investment opportunities does the opening of Khalifa Industrial Zone Abu Dhabi (Kizad) present for companies operating in the GCC?

Kizad is part of an initiative to promote industrial development and diversify GDP contributions. It acts as an enabler that allows companies investing in different clusters within Kizad to add tremendous business value through innovation and economies of proximity. Aluminum is one of the key clusters available today at Kizad and opens up diverse downstream potential. In terms of clusters, we have the aluminum, steel, and engineered metal clusters, with logistics, food, and mixed-use clusters also available to investors, providing a variety of industrial activity. There are three key advantages that Kizad provides to companies that have a market within the GCC and are looking to expand, or companies that are interested in the Middle East as a new market. The first is excellent access to global markets. Secondly, we insist on operating a low-cost environment, and finally we make it easy for investors to do business with us. The minute that you are set up in Kizad as an industrial project, you are able to benefit from cost advantages in three areas. The first is that firms are exempt from all customs duties on their capital equipment. During operations, we also exempt companies from customs on the importation of raw materials that come through Khalifa Port. The most significant exemption, though, is finished products. Here, the cost of selling a product includes capital costs, raw materials, operating costs, overheads, and profits, as well as financing costs. If you are within Kizad, we are able to issue a company a certificate exempting it from GCC market taxes like conditions at the Greater Arab Free Trade Area (GAFTA), where companies do not pay any customs duties to do business. This really is a key advantage. The other is that, obviously, there is no taxation of companies or personal income either.

What is your current progress on Stage I, and when will Stage II begin?

The Stage I and Stage II idea is a highly fluid one. Stage I involves 55% of the area, or 51 square kilometers. We have completed the infrastructure, including that of the adjacent Khalifa Port, which is the first and only semi-automated port in the region and now completely integrated with Kizad. In just one year, Khalifa Port went from a pristine stretch of reclaimed land to a busy hub, serving 17 shipping lines, offering 18 direct services, and connecting more than 40 ports directly. As of October 2013, the container terminal at Khalifa Port handled a record breaking 100,081 TEUs. This is the highest number of containers ever handled in one month at Khalifa Port and the Emirate of Abu Dhabi. In a year-on-year comparison to date, Khalifa Port’s container terminal operations are more than 12% higher than in the same period of 2012, with a total throughput of 712,342 TEUs between January and October 2013. Growth hit 27% in October 2013 compared to October 2012. This is a part of our business plan and growth strategy. It also helps with our investors’ distribution costs and gives them the connectivity they require. In terms of industrial zones, all of Area A, including the highways, storm water, potable water, combined waste water, seawater cooling, process water, gas networks, and electrical distribution networks—high, medium, and low voltage—are already in place and operational. In terms of backers already establishing facilities at Kizad, we have over 40 investors busy building and preparing their operations for launch in 2014. These include TALEX, Brasil Foods, KSB, and Polysis, to name a few.



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