Aqaba reiterates commitment for port development
Officials from Aqaba Special Economic Zone (ASEZ) have reiterated their commitment to the Middle East shipping industry during a recent ceremony, held to mark the project's seventh anniversary of operations.
Millions of dollars have already been invested to develop ASEZ's maritime infrastructure since the project was established in 2001. This includes a major relocation of the main port to the southern tip of the zone, which is currently underway and will double its handling capacity from 30 million tonnes to more than 60 million tonnes.
"There have been people who cast doubt on the achievements and the size of investment attracted into ASEZ. Today, we can see the projects that were once on paper are now facts on the ground," commented His Excellency Hosni Abdu Gheida, chief commissioner of Aqaba Special Economic Zone Authority (ASEZA).
"Since 2001, ASEZ has attracted over US$8 billion of investments, exceeding our strategic goals set for the year 2020 by over $2 billion. This success can be attributed to our market leading economic legislation, sound business environment and the authority's independence in decision making, together with a successful promotion campaign and good planning."
The added value created by the port relocation is expected to hit 20% and attract more than US$4.23 billion in investments, according to Gheida, with the project creating more than 30,000 jobs over the next 20 years.
Approximately 200 people attended ASEZ's seventh anniversary celebration, which was held last month, including Nader Dahabi, Prime Minister of Jordan.
A number of developers seized the opportunity to announce new phases of their investments, including Salam International Transportation and Trading Company, which officially launched a strategic partnership with Saudi Arabia's Al Jaffali Group. Under the agreement, the companies have chosen a plot of land in the southern area of Aqaba port to construct a tank farm for the storage of chemicals, liquids and other oil products.
This project is being implemented with an investment worth $28.20 million. Initial work has already started, with the farm scheduled for operations before the end of 2008.
"Jaffali Group has played a major role in the development of the Saudi Arabian market. It has introduced many new quality products, as well as innovative services and advanced technologies to the country and the region at large," said Tarek Dajani, general manager of Salam International.
"The group constantly seeks to broaden its market reach and we are proud to be working side by side with it towards the common goal of positively contributing towards the economic growth of Jordan and the region at large. The political stability and inviting investment environments that this country enjoys are both factors that make it a hub for regional transportation and business expansions," he added.