Project in Khalifa now augmented
The awarding of a concession to Cosco to build and operate a new container terminal in Khalifa (UAE) was followed by an announcement that the partners are also set to build a new cargo railway station there. The move out of Jebel Ali will be completed gradually.
Being awarded a concession is one thing, but actually commencing construction and operations in a terminal are something else entirely. The official ground-breaking ceremony for a new container terminal next to the existing one in the port of Khalifa in November represented a clear signal from Abu Dhabi Ports and Cosco Shipping Ports. The partners made the most of the opportunity by simultaneously signing an additional contract to set up the region’s largest freight railway station.
More capacities in the new centre
The United Arab Emirates is ambitiously pursuing a target of more than doubling container throughput capacities in the port of Khalifa over the next few years. The first part of the plan was realised in 2016, when Cosco signed the concession contract to build a new terminal worth USD 700 million and to operate it for 35 years. They like to go for the big one at the Gulf – the port’s existing capacity of 2.5 million teu / year saw another 2.4 million teu / year added to it by this move. On top of this Cosco Shipping also has a contractually-guaranteed option to augment the capacity by another 1.1 million teu / year. These measures will all also serve to improve the logistics links to and from the Khalifa Industrial Zone Abu Dhabi (Kizad), which has been designed to push forward with the industrialisation and diversification of the economy of Abu Dhabi.
The partner’s new agreement to build a freight railway station is expected to benefit the entire port. The new facility will link up the terminals and offer box-handling solutions, as well as other services, such as consolidating and stuffing cargo for FCLs and LCLs, optimising freight weights and offering short-term warehousing options. This goes beyond Cosco’s interests, which are to develop Khalifa as a regional transhipment hub.
Cosco Shipping Ports managing director Zhang Wei was asked recently whether his corporation was planning to transfer its handling activities from the port of Jebel Ali, which it has mainly used in the region so far, to the port of Khalifa. He answered that the plan is to effect the change successively over a period of approximately 24 months. In any case the new terminal, where the first section is expected to be ready for operations in the course of 2018, represents a clear diversification of Cosco’s operations in the Middle East.