The capacity of Abu Dhabi’s Khalifa Port will increase by 50% by the end of 2020 as part of a 3.8 billion dirham ($1 billion) expansion of the emirate’s main port announced on Wednesday.
The oil-rich capital of the United Arab Emirates is investing billions of dollars in infrastructure to reduce the emirate’s dependence on oil and gas and the port is a key part of its plans.
Khalifa Port, which opened in 2012, is between Abu Dhabi city and the financial centre of Dubai where the region’s largest transshipment port Jebeli Ali is located.
The container port’s handling capacity will increase to 7.5 million twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) a year, up from 5 million, with a 1.6 billion dirham investment from Abu Dhabi Terminals, owned by state-run Abu Dhabi Ports and Swiss-based Mediterranean Shipping Co (MSC).
“Khalifa Port always tries to be at the forefront and ahead of other ports,” said Mohamed al-Menhali, the port’s acting director.
The port is expected to handle 2.5 million TEUs this year, up from 1.7 million in 2018, according to state owner Abu Dhabi Ports.
The expansion will be partly self-financed with the rest raised through local banks, executives said.
Khalifa Port will invest a further 2.2 billion dirhams on the South Quay development and Khalifa Port Logistics which will include new quay walls and additional terminal yard space to be completed by the first quarter 2021.
The port’s CSP Abu Dhabi Terminals facility, which opened in April and is majority-owned by China’s COSCO, has so far handled 330,000 TEUs this year and is expected to handle over 800,000 in 2020, Deputy CEO Naser Albusaaedi said. Its annual handling capacity is 2.5 million TEUs.
A further 1 million TEUs of capacity could be added to that facility, Albusaaedi said, although no decision has been made.