Long-term agreement to see Abu Dhabi Ports upgrade facilities for accommodating the large vessels
Emirates Global Aluminium (EGA) has signed a long-term port facility agreement with Abu Dhabi Ports to use Khalifa Port for importing raw materials on some of the world’s largest cargo vessels.
The agreement was signed recently at EGA’s headquarters in Al Taweelah (KIZAD) by Captain Mohamed Juma Al Shamisi, CEO of Abu Dhabi Ports, and Abdulla Kalban, MD and CEO of EGA.
A statement from EGA, the UAE’s largest industrial company outside of the oil & gas sector, said that under the agreement, Khalifa Port will upgrade its facilities to accommodate vessels of the Capesize class, which comprises some of the largest dry bulk cargo ships in the world. The ships are so named because they are too large for the Suez and Panama canals, and must round the southern most points of mainland Africa and South America to transit between the Indian and Atlantic Oceans, and the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans respectively.
With this agreement, Abu Dhabi Ports will be able to develop the port to become the first in the Gulf capable of directly handling these massive ships, said the statement. The port operator will do this by funding and completing dredging and widening works to the Khalifa Port approach channel and basin, including EGA’s berth. The dredging will deepen the channel to 18.5m and widen the basin to 18m on zero tide basis, it added.
EGA said it plans to use the large dry bulk ships to import raw materials without the need to transfer all or some of the cargo to smaller vessels outside the port, reducing long-term shipping costs and improving environmental performance.
The development of Khalifa Port is also expected to lead to larger ships calling at Abu Dhabi, creating new trade opportunities, supporting local industries and boosting the emirate’s position as a global maritime trade hub, the statement added.
“(The) announcement marks another milestone for Abu Dhabi’s maritime and trade industry, and demonstrates our commitment to ongoing innovation and expansion in response to market and customer demands,” said Captain Al Shamisi.
“As vital trade, logistics and industrial hubs of Abu Dhabi, Khalifa Port and KIZAD play a vital role in the emirate’s economic diversification strategy. Khalifa Port will be the first port in the region with Capesize vessel handling capacity, and with EGA’s long term commitment, will give an important boost to trade and investment in KIZAD and more broadly in the region.”
According to the statement, EGA will use Capsize vessels to ship bauxite ore, the feedstock for alumina refineries, from the Republic of Guinea in West Africa. Currently, EGA is constructing the UAE’s first alumina refinery next to its aluminium smelter at the Khalifa Industrial Zone Abu Dhabi, located adjacent to Khalifa Port, ensuring streamlined logistics. Upon achieving full-production, the Al Taweelah alumina refinery will process five million tonnes of bauxite per annum.
“Dredging Khalifa Port to allow fully-laden Capesize vessels to reach EGA’s berth will reduce our costs, simplify our bauxite supply chain, and improve our environmental performance. I am also pleased that the enhanced capabilities at Khalifa Port will enable broader trade and economic benefits for Abu Dhabi,” said Kalban.
Bauxite ore from Guinea will be transported to Abu Dhabi via the global shipping firm K-Line, said EGA’s statement, adding that earlier this year Kalban attended the naming ceremony for one of the vessels K-Line will use for this service. The vessel was named Cape Taweelah.