BIG IMPACTS

UAE 2018 | AJMAN | FOCUS: MARITIME INFRASTRUCTURE

The Ajman government is planning on building a new port in Al Zowra that will allow the Emirate to receive larger ships and handle a larger number of containers. The expected investment is AED2 billion (USD544 million) and is supposed to be complete by the third quarter of 2020.

Over the past few years, Ajman's residents have seen an increasing number of ships docking at the Port of Ajman. With that, the amount of containers received has also been growing exponentially. In fact, according to Sheikh Sultan bin Mohammed Al Nuaimi, the Director of Planning and Business Development Department of Ajman Port, the volume of TEUs entering through the Port of Ajman has increased more than 50% since 2012. Over the next few years, Ajman Port still expects 4-5% growth in the number of containers received, hence the need to increase capacity and ability to receive larger ships that can carry more TEUs. In order to do that, the Emirate needs new infrastructure. As part of a strategic plan in line with Ajman Vision 2021, Ajman will very soon have a second port in Al Zowra.

As the largest and most ambitious infrastructure project that Ajman has ever embarked on, the estimated project cost is AED2 billion (USD544 million). Designs and drawings of the project have been completed and examined by the Crown Prince of Ajman, Sheikh Ammar bin Humaid Al Nuaimi. In an exclusive interview with TBY, Sheikh Sultan bin Mohammed Al Nuaimi unveiled some of the characteristics of this new infrastructure. While the current port of Ajman is around 5-7m deep, the port of Al Zowra will have a deeper seabed of 12m, allowing larger ships to pass through and dock. The quay will be 500m, and there will be a bridge 3km long. This new infrastructure will be able to handle larger vessels carrying up to 5,000 containers. The project will also include the construction of a 500,000-sqm landing station for handling containers, storage, and warehouses.
The port will feature new equipment such as Post-Panamax gantry cranes that will be used to offload and load containers and will be connected to the station and offices on land to ensure the efficient flow of the containers. The port will also have access to the national transport network, which includes Mohamed bin Zayed Road and Emirates Road.
The new port will significantly add to the economic growth in the area by boosting trade and other transport-related activities. In fact, Sheikh Sultan bin Mohammed Al Nuaimi told TBY that the new Port of Ajman, “will expand, improve, and help develop the economy of the Emirate and support green and sustainable economy initiatives, especially in the logistics and trade sectors. Trade is a pillar of our economy that depends on the network of logistics and ports facilities." Despite being the smallest of the seven Emirates, the need for this new facility is the perfect example of Ajman's increasing business activity in the past few years.
In an exclusive interview, Ali Eissa Al Nuami, Director-General of the Department of Economic Development of Ajman, told TBY that the Emirate of Ajman ranked second, behind Dubai, in the World Bank's Ease of Doing Business index. The new state-of-the-art port will further improve Ajman's position with respect to ease of doing business, and it is a guarantee for international investors who are showing an increasing interest in the Emirate.
Franchises are also a segment of the business community that will benefit the most from this development. In February 2016, during the announcement of the third edition of Franchise Brands Retail (FBR) Ajman, Mohamed Al Janahi, Executive Director of Business and Investment Development, said that, “The UAE is considered the region's number-one destination for franchising, in which it witnessed a significant fast growth during the past years, especially the F&B and garment sectors, which occupy the largest share of the market by almost 60%." Efficient and competitive port facilities are key to further promoting the arrival of franchising companies, especially when, as he mentioned, “50% of the world's retail trading is based on franchising."