COSCO SHIPPING Ports and Abu Dhabi Ports have inaugurated the CSP Abu Dhabi Terminal at Khalifa Port; positioning Abu Dhabi as the regional hub for COSCO’s global network of 36 ports and further connecting the Emirate to the major trade hubs along the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).
The deepwater, semi-automated container terminal includes the largest Container Freight Station (CFS) in the Middle East, covering 275,000 square metres.
The state-of-the-art facility offers facilities for full and partial bonded container shipments, the full range of container packing services, short-term warehousing for de-consolidated cargo as well as easy connectivity with container terminals in Khalifa Port.
The terminal is also the first international greenfield subsidiary of COSCO SHIPPING Ports, a subsidiary of China COSCO Shipping, the largest integrated shipping enterprise in the world. CSP has so far invested AED1.1 billion in capital expenditure on construction and machinery at the terminal.
The CSP Abu Dhabi Terminal has a design capacity of 2.5 million TEU and will begin with a handling capacity of 1.5 million TEU, with 1,200 metres of quay. The water depth of the terminal is 16.5 metres, allowing it to accommodate mega-vessels typically carrying in excess of 20,000 TEU.
“The decision by COSCO SHIPPING Ports to invest in Abu Dhabi is a testament to our strategic location, attractive business environment and supportive regulation. We believe that it will open the door to more foreign direct investment in the Emirate,” said His Highness Sheikh Theyab bin Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Chairman of the Department of Transport.
“The inauguration ceremony is not only a milestone in the cooperation of China’s 'Belt and Road Initiative', but also a good start for China and UAE’s pragmatic cooperation in other key areas,” said Ning Jizhe, deputy director of China’s National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC).
“The two countries’ strong determination for cooperation laid a solid foundation for development and deepening of mutual relations, and thus provided promising prospects for cooperation in the future,” he added.
The partnership with COSCO SHIPPING Ports is part of a five-year strategy by Abu Dhabi Ports aimed at strengthening the maritime sector in Abu Dhabi and driving economic diversification, in line with Abu Dhabi Economic Vision 2030, by increasing regional trade and attracting foreign direct investment.
Abu Dhabi Ports has earmarked AED10 billion in investment that will increase capacity at Khalifa Port from the current 5 million TEU to 9.1 million TEU, which also includes boosting capacity at Terminal 1 to more than 5 million TEU.
China is the UAE's largest non-oil trade partner. In 2017, bilateral trade between the two countries increased by 15 per cent to more than US$53 billion, representing 14.7 per cent of the UAE's total foreign trade.
During the same period, the UAE accounted for nearly 30 per cent of total Chinese exports to Arab countries and about 22 per cent of total Arab-China trade. Bilateral trade is expected to increase to US $70 billion a year by 2020.
“CSP Abu Dhabi Terminal connects Khalifa Port to COSCO’s global network, making it not only one of the largest ports across the Middle East and Indian subcontinent, but a global maritime hub,” said Captain Mohamed Juma Al Shamisi, CEO of Abu Dhabi Ports.
“Abu Dhabi's strategic location as a gateway to the MENA region makes it an important partner for China's Belt and Road Initiative, connecting Asia with Africa and Europe via land and maritime networks along six corridors,” he added.
The new terminal will ease the way for companies seeking to establish, expand or enhance their trade by using local manufacturing, warehousing or logistics operations within Abu Dhabi and, through them, service regional, Middle Eastern, African and international markets.
CSP Abu Dhabi Terminal is the result of the 35-year agreement between Abu Dhabi Ports and COSCO SHIPPING Ports whose terminal portfolio covers the five main port regions in Mainland China, Southeast Asia, Europe, the Mediterranean and the Black Sea.