IN THE SAME NEIGHBORHOOD

UAE, Dubai 2012 | INDUSTRY | FOCUS: DUBAI INDUSTRIAL CITY

As Dubai seeks to create a knowledge-based economy, industry benefits from collaboration and prime infrastructure in a zone dedicated to manufacturers and logistics companies in the sector.

Upon completion of the first phase of development in 1Q2012, the Dubai Industrial City (DI) expanded to an area of more than 55 square kilometers of space available for the development of logistics and manufacturing facilities. In addition, utilities such as electricity and water, as well as irrigation, roads, and telecommunications infrastructure are now readily available in the zone, which is set to become a major hub for industry companies operating in Dubai or seeking to establish a presence in the Emirate. To prepare for the expected 25% medium-term growth of the sector and in response to the 16% increase seen in 2011, the DI is working to provide a variety of resources to investorsand offer benefits in six areas of industrial production.

As part of the TECOM Investments business parks, the DI is the only non-free zone in the group, offering services to over 150 companies. Multinationals such as Kanoo Engineering, Shafar Steel, Al Futtaim, Arabian Automobiles, BASF, Conmix, Terazzo, Arabtec, Alec, BASF, IKEA, and DoFreeze have already begun operations in the DI, taking advantage of the supply chain and its geostrategic location. These enterprises also benefit from the increased connectivity in terms of air, sea, and road transport links; the zone's proximity to the Al Maktoum International Airport and Jebel Ali Port is expected to further enhance the DI's attractiveness for foreign and local investors, as connectivity becomes increasingly important.

Although the DI's location is seen as its main advantage, the diverse nature of the small city enhances its appeal as a place to do business and transfer knowledge. For those establishing a base in the DI, six zones have been developed to organize businesses within key industries: food and beverage, transport equipment and parts, heavy machinery, mineral products, chemicals, and base metals. “These zones are further complemented by other services," Abdulla Bel Houl, Managing Director of DI, told TBY, explaining that “3.3 million sqm of state-of-the-art warehouses, labor accommodation, dedicated power substations, modern office buildings, and a number of municipal amenities" are available at the site. DI also offers open yard space of nearly 700,000 sqm, designed for the storage of construction materials and automobiles. The area is fully fenced with perimeter lighting, and is monitored by a 24-hour, on-site security team. As of February 2012, 30% of new warehousing under construction was already reserved. Over 1 million sqm of warehousing comprises the second phase of DI's development, which is especially suited for food and beverage producers and the pharmaceuticals industry.

To date, the creation of this infrastructure has required an investment of $1 billion. The DI will eventually cover an area of 185 million sqm, house approximately 500,000 residents working in the sector, and support 30 factories, with completion of the entire complex slated for 2015.

Since 2004, the DI has been working to enable operational synergies through cooperation between similar segments of industrial production, as well as offering a solution for real estate needs. In doing so, the zone provides industrial land for self-building, pre-built warehouses for logistics and light industrial use, labor accommodation, office space, retail showrooms, on-site assistance for start-ups, and operational services for each tenant.

Demand for space in the developing DI continues to increase with the support of campaigns, exhibitions, and business partner testimonials, Bel Houl told TBY. “We are in the process of negotiating with several large industrial players who are looking to establish a base at Dubai Industrial City. Some of these will be announced soon. We are keen to maintain this positive momentum," he said. Looking to the future, the DI is expected to be a springboard for enterprises entering the local market and a source of innovation and collaboration for the industry sector as a whole.