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COSCO to pull out of Jebel Ali as Port Khalifa project commences

COSCO Shipping Ports Limited breaks ground on new container terminal at Port Khalifa, with plans to make Abu Dhabi its new transhipment hub for all Middle Eastern freight.
Zhang Wei, vice chairman and managing director of COSCO Shipping Ports Limited (second from right), said COSCO would move all traffic from Jebel Ali Port to Port Khalifa.
Zhang Wei, vice chairman and managing director of COSCO Shipping Ports Limited (second from right), said COSCO would move all traffic from Jebel Ali Port to Port Khalifa.

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Abu Dhabi Ports and COSCO Shipping Ports Limited (CSP) held a ground-breaking ceremony for the CSP Abu Dhabi Container Terminal at Port Khalifa, marking the start of the shipping giant’s plan to expand Port Khalifa’s annual container handling capacity by 3.5-million TEU.

A new agreement between CSP, the world’s leading ports operator, and Abu Dhabi Ports was also signed during the ceremony for development of the largest container freight station in the region.

The new Container Freight Station will provide Abu Dhabi trade with a state of the art facility offering bonded LCL/FCL consolidation and de-consolidation services, cross stuffing, cargo weight reduction, short term warehousing for de-consolidated cargo as well as easy connectivity with the container terminals in Khalifa Port.

“Khalifa Port is one of the fastest growing ports and an important gateway port in the region, with huge potential and prospect. COSCO SHIPPING Ports is marching another step forward in the port development project with Abu Dhabi Ports,” said Ning Jizhe, deputy director of China’s National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), which is providing a significant portion of the funding for the project.

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Zhang Wei, vice chairman and managing director of COSCO Shipping Ports Limited said during the event that although the growth prospects for Port Khalifa are promising, the vast majority of container traffic for the new terminal will come from COSCO’s transshipment operations in the region.

“There are two types of port, transshipment ports and gateway ports,” he said during a news conference. “COSCO will use Port Khalifa as a transshipment hub, and possibly as a gateway port in the future, but such plans must be undertaken carefully because the GCC ports infrastructure faces overcapacity.”

When asked if COSCO planned to move its freight operations from Jebel Ali Port to Port Khalifa, in order to funnel traffic into the new development, he said that it would happen gradually over the course of up to 24 months.

Captain Al Shamisi, expressed his happiness in the ground-breaking ceremony and the signing of the new agreement, and praised COSCO Shipping Ports on their decision to take Khalifa Port as a hub for their operations in the region.

“This marks a significant leap in the expansion of the Port, transfer of goods and reduction of costs. In addition to attracting investors from Eastern Asia, it will increase Khalifa Ports’ competitiveness and ease the way for more partnerships with companies and friends in China and East Asia, which will draw further investments into Abu Dhabi,” he said.

COSCO Shipping is part of the Ocean Alliance, which includes CMA CGM, Evergreen and OOCL, which is currently in the process of merging with COSCO. The alliance accounts for around 3-million TEU of the entire freight throughout in the UAE, the vast majority of it currently through Jebel Ali Port.

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