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Abu Dhabi Ports, the master developer, operator and manager of the Emirate’s ports and Khalifa Industrial Zone, has announced a major expansion plan for Khalifa Port.

The expansion at Khalifa Port, one of the world’s fastest growing container, bulk cargo and roll-on roll-off vehicle transport ports, will add 1,000 metres of quay wall to the port and deepen its main channel and basin to 18 metres, from the current 16 metres.

Also, the new quay wall will add an additional 600,000 sqm for cargo handling.

These measures will ensure the port can accommodate anticipated growth in the short to medium term and handle loading and unloading the world’s largest ships, increasing the competiveness of the Emirate as a logistics and maritime hub, while also serving key industries across the UAE.

Captain Mohamed Juma Al Shamisi, CEO of Abu Dhabi Ports, said: "This ambitious expansion is crucial to ensuring Abu Dhabi remains a global trade and investment hub, as well as supporting our local industries. Building on recent growth at Khalifa Port, we are guaranteeing the future of our operations to ensure we can continue to attract the world’s leading operators to use our world-class facilities, which will see Capesize vessels, the largest in the cargo industry, come directly into an Abu Dhabi port for the first time.

"Over the past few years we have invested in building an integrated, technology enabled platform and physical infrastructure for our customers to become enablers for key business sectors, in line with the Abu Dhabi Plan and Vision 2030.

"Today sees us take this to the next level as a maritime centre and as the gateway to the world’s fastest growing economies."

A first step in delivering this plan has been the signing of a contract with the National Marine Dredging Company (NMDC), which will start preparatory work on dredging the channels and using this material to build the new 1000-metre-long quay wall and the adjacent yard behind it.

Some 250 workers will be involved in the expansion project at Khalifa Port, which is scheduled for completion in mid-2018.

Engineer Yaser Zaghlool, CEO of NMDC, discussed the strategic importance of the contract, saying: "We see Abu Dhabi Ports as a strategic partner with the important role of actively enhancing the UAE maritime sector. We will build upon that by providing our services, while maintaining the highest standards through the employment of a specialised and experienced workforce, made up of national and foreign calibres.

"We understand this region and its characteristics, and have successfully developed technological methods that will raise safety standards."

Zaghlool added: "Inspired by the numerous achievements in this sector, NMDC was able to cement its presence and take advantage of its international experience, allowing us to accomplish high rates of excellence.

"This agreement offers a good incentive for us to raise our service standards and strengthen our position as international industry leaders in the marine dredging sector."