ABU DHABI: Abu Dhabi began commercial operations yesterday at its new Khalifa Port in a multi-billion-dollar project to transfer its main container terminal from the 40-year-old port of Mina Zayed.
The new facility, on reclaimed land 5km off the coast of the emirate, received its first ship from a commercial customer, the 366-metre MSC Bari.
The first phase of the project, now complete, has cost 26.6 billion dirhams ($7.2bn), the Abu Dhabi Ports Company (ADPC) said.
The Khalifa Port, part of the Kizad industrial zone, has a capacity of 2.5 million TEUs (containers) a year, with an additional 12m tonnes of general cargo, including 4m tonnes a year from the adjacent Emirates Aluminium berth which opened in late 2010.
This capacity could double to 5m TEU "in three to five years," said Martijn Van De Linde, chief executive of Abu Dhabi Terminals, which operates the Khalifa Port.
The size of the island hosting the offshore part of the port is 2.7sqkm, equivalent to 400 football pitches. Its total area, including onshore, is 9.1sqkm.
The first phase of Kizad A, which is under construction, is spread over 51 sq km, while the second phase, Kizad B, is planned to cover 365sqkm. The aim is to take the annual capacity of the port to 15m TEU by 2030, ADPC said. This is more than 13m TEU Dubai's Jebel Ali port, the world's largest man-made harbour, handled last year.
Located in the city of Abu Dhabi, Mina Zayed port will continue to handle commercial cargo, but will also concentrate on developing the growing cruise liner business.