French container shipping major CMA CGM and the UAE-based port operator Abu Dhabi Ports (AD Ports) have signed a 35-year concession agreement to develop a new terminal in Abu Dhabi.

Under the deal, the new terminal will be established at Khalifa Port, the first semi-automated container port in the GCC region.

It will be managed by a joint venture owned by CMA CGM’s subsidiary CMA Terminals (with a 70 percent stake) and AD Ports Group (30 percent stake).

The partners are expected to invest approximately AED 570 million ($154 million) in the project.

With construction starting in 2021, the new terminal is set to be completed in 2024 with, in phase 1, an initial quay length of 800 metres and an estimated annual capacity of 1.8 million TEUs.

Photo: AD Ports

AD Ports Group will be responsible for developing a wide range of supporting marine works and infrastructure. This includes up to a total of 1,200 metres of quay wall, a 3,800-metre breakwater, a fully built-out rail platform, and 700,000 sqm of terminal yard.

The terminal will provide CMA CGM with a new regional hub and will enable the group to develop its service offering between Abu Dhabi and South Asia, Western Asia, East Africa, Europe and the Mediterranean as well as the Middle East and the Indian sub-continent.

With this major investment, the CMA CGM Group pushes ahead with its global expansion strategy to become one of the leading terminal operators. The group currently operates 49 port terminals in 27 countries via its subsidiaries CMA Terminals and Terminal Link.

CMA CGM Group is the third of the world’s top-four shipping entities to join forces with Abu Dhabi’s leading facilitator of trade, logistics and industry.

The UAE and Abu Dhabi’s central geographical location, at the center of international trade routes, enables the CMA CGM Group to implement strategic development plans, strengthening its position in the Gulf.

“The ambitious project we are launching in Abu Dhabi marks an important milestone in CMA CGM’s development strategy in the region,” Rodolphe Saadé, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the CMA CGM Group, commented.

“This … terminal will contribute to enhancing Khalifa Port’s position as a leading global hub and to boosting the region’s economy, accelerating trade flows in and out of Abu Dhabi. It will also enable our group to expand its shipping and logistics network in the region, where we see a lot of growth potential.”

“As well as driving increased trade volumes through our port and elevating the UAE’s economic development, we expect the facility’s capacity and added trade links with other high-profile port destinations will drive investment into local businesses and our industrial zones, fast-track the development of key sectors including manufacturing and logistics, and raise demand for manpower,” Falah Mohammed Al Ahbabi, Chairman of AD Ports Group, said.

“This agreement will aid us to realise our long-term ambitions to become a top 10 ports, industrial, and logistics operator by expanding our capacity and growth across the region and beyond. In all, we project that over the next five years the CMA Terminals joint venture will drive the further development of the Khalifa Industrial Zone Abu Dhabi (KIZAD).”

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