Following the official opening of Cosco Shipping Ports (CSP). Terminal at Khalifa Port in Abu Dhabi last month, Abu Dhabi Terminals (ADT) and CSP-Abu Dhabi have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to strengthen their collaboration and ensure smooth transactions between the two facilities.
The CSP Abu Dhabi Terminal is the first international green-field subsidiary of CSP. The water depth of the semi-automatic terminal is 16.5 metres which should allow it to accommodate container ships in excess of 20,000 TEU. With an annual design capacity of 2.5 million TEU, the terminal will begin trial operations in April 2019 with 1.5 million TEU handling capacity and will gradually ramp up the volume over the year.
CSP invested US$300 million in the terminal which includes the largest container freight station in the Middle East covering 275,000 square metres. The facility is the first of its kind in the region to be semi-automated and has facilities for full and partial bonded container shipments, a full range of container packing services, short-term warehousing for de-consolidated cargo as well as easy connectivity with the container terminals in Khalifa Port.
The new MOU between Abu Dhabi Terminals and CSP notes Khalifa Port's growing importance in local, regional and global trade and its inclusion as the main regional hub of the Chinese Belt and Road initiative. The companies will continue to cooperate and increase capacity at Abu Dhabi Khalifa Port to make it a container gateway port.
Chairman of COSCO Shipping, Captain Xu Lirong, said: "We will support the development of the terminal to the fullest extent of our capability by developing shipping routes and transshipment network to drive the volume growth of CSP Abu Dhabi Terminal. The terminal is set to be a pivot for us to develop a global maritime hub for international transshipment and logistics."
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 $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 $70 billion a year by 2020.
CSP anticipates that in addition to attracting investors from Eastern Asia, it will increase Khalifa Port's competitiveness and act as a catalyst for investment by foreign companies to set up in the free zone of Khalifa Industrial Zone Abu Dhabi (KIZAD), the region's largest industrial, manufacturing and logistics hub and free zone. KIZAD, which comprises 410 square kilometres, has to date attracted more than 200 tenants and $17.7 billion in investment. So far, 19 Chinese companies have signed lease agreements for land in the demonstration zone established in August 2017 by the Chinese Jiangsu Provincial Overseas Cooperation and Investment Company.
CSP Abu Dhabi Terminal is part of Abu Dhabi Ports' five-year growth strategy to increase Khalifa Port, with its two container terminals, to a combined total capacity of 9.1 million TEU. The addition of CSP Abu Dhabi Terminal has already moved Khalifa Port up from being the 89th largest container port in world rankings to within the top 25, reports Maritime Executive, Fort Lauderdale, Florida.