UAE’s ports remain firm on expansion plans and investments amidst pandemic
Despite the ongoing global pandemic and the business disruptions it has brought to global supply chains, UAE’s leading ports such as DP World and Abu Dhabi Ports say their plans for investments and increasing capacity remains well on track.
“For us as DP world our development plans are not only focused on adding more investments to key site facilities only, but also on enhancing smart ways of doing business,” said Abdullah Bin Damithan, chief commercial officer, DP World – UAE Region.
“Whilst many businesses [saw] disruptions during the COVID crisis our business functioned normally, and this is because of our investments that we have initiated ahead of time,” he added.
And it was DP World’s investments in technology that have largely paid off according to Bin Damithan.
“We will continue to invest but not only in increasing capacity, but also to increase efficiency and this is basically what will bring more value and sustainability to our business and to our customers.
“The pandemic has proven that our investment over the past years in automation and digitisation is the future for business continuity and sustainability,” he added.
Bin Damithan pointed to the example of DP World’s crane automation system, which he said allowed the port to continue to operate without any stoppages compared to other ports around the world.
“This will be the norm for everyone in the industry… We invest where we see the potential, be it infrastructure or superstructure, automation [and] digitisation as part of our strategic vision for being a trade enabler.”
Abu Dhabi Ports expansion
Commenting on Abu Dhabi Ports and its plans, Hamza Badawi, director of Urban Planning and Permitting, said the group’s investment strategy had not changed as a result of the pandemic due to the importance placed on Abu Dhabi’s maritime sector.
“We recognise the necessity to provide an enhanced essential infrastructure [and] import infrastructure to support the development of the country.
“The government is pushing to have our projects delivered sooner across our asset portfolio including industrial zone subsidiaries, and we are on track for all projects,” he added.
Those projects include the expansion of Khalifa Port, which is undergoing a sizeable growth that will see its handling capacity being doubled.
“Our port expansions are moving ahead as planned… Much progress has been achieved this year and even during the pandemic,” Badawi said.
“Once complete, Khalifa Port will be able to further grow and expand it’s footprint beyond our shores to touch every corner of the world while ensuring it’s future significant regional and international trade and logistics,” he added.
“So moving ahead, we haven’t stopped our activities.”