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Top 10: Middle East Warehouse Hubs 2011

Which developed and under-development hubs have made the Top 10 cut?
Bahrain, Dubai, Kizad, Oman, Top 10, Uae, Warehouse, Warehouse hub, SPECIAL REPORTS, Top 10...

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Dubai Investments Park

“A city within a city”, Dubai Investments Park comprises three zones including; mixed use industrial, commercial and residential. Spread across 2300 hectares (with 1700 hectares leased), Dubai Investments Park is conveniently located close to the international airport in Jebel Ali as well as key business districts via Sheikh Zayed Road and Emirates Road.

Last year, it was announced that a 500,000 square metre logistics complex would be built to capitalise on the success of existing supply chain operations at the development.

The earthworks have since been completed, with the entire project to be finished in 2013. On top of industrial investments, the residential zone has attracted investments worth over US $5.7 billion. Tenants of note at Dubai Investments Park include; Emirates Flight Catering, Al Futtaim and Al Tayer Group.

Dubai Industrial City

Making the list again in the top 10 is perennial achiever Dubai Industrial City. Launched in 2004, the warehousing hub has six manufacturing clusters including Food and Beverage, Base Metal, Mineral Products, Transport Equipment and Parts, Machinery and Equipment, and Chemicals.

Situated near Dubai World Central and the Jebel Ali Port and free zone, the complex occupies 52 square kilometres of land and houses a growing list of tenants including; Al Jaber Engineering and United Metal Coating. Al-Futtaim Logistics (AFL) has recently announced it has signed a three-year agreement to acquire 32 warehousing units at Dubai Industrial City and the new steel plant constructed at a total cost of $100 million shows the free zone is poised to take giant economic strides.

Future investments in infrastructure for industrial training and labour accommodation will see the city capable of accommodating 500,000 people when it is completed in 2015.

Bahrain Investment Wharf

Bahrain Investment Wharf (BIW) is the first of two Bahrain warehousing hubs to crack the top 10 list for 2011. Covering a huge plot of land measuring 1.7 million square metres, the hub has been designed to attract local and international industries to the Gulf nation.

Situated at the Hidd industrial area in close proximity to Bahrain International Airport and the new Khalifa Bin Salman port, BIW is strategically located to take advantage of its proximity in the region. With infrastructure works now complete, more than 50 per cent of the plots within the BIW are either under development or processing.

The BIW development includes a dedicated logistics park with 900,000 square metres allocated for supply chain activities, including warehouse storage, and packaging and distribution. Phase 1 of the 60,000 sq. metre BIW Labour Accommodation Project, the first of its kind in Bahrain, is under construction, whilst Phase 2 is earmarked to begin this year with a total of 20,000 workers eventually being housed. The overall total investment of the industries and businesses within the BIW Estate is estimated at approximately $2 billion.

Aqaba Special Economic Zone

Launched in 2001 as a duty free low tax multi sectoral development zone, Aqaba Special Economic Zone (ASEZ) is a private sector driven development located in Jordan at the cross roads of three continents. Covering approximately 375 square kilometres, the zone has a number of projects in the pipeline including; the construction of a grain terminal to cover 30 hectares, and the development of a logistics village which is under construction.

Currently being developed on a 500,000 square metre plot of land next to Aqaba Container Terminal, Aqaba Logistics Village will take ten years to complete at a cost of $60 million. Already completed, the first phase involved the development of infrastructure with the construction of a container terminal, distribution centre and service centre.

The second phase will incorporate an additional three distribution centres, each covering 10,000 square metres, together with a village headquarters and a logistics institute, while three more 10,000 square metre distribution centres will be constructed in phase three.

Khalifa Industrial Zone Abu Dhabi (KIZAD)

A new entry to the top 10 warehousing hubs 2011 and the only Abu Dhabi based project to make the warehousing hub cut this year, is Khalifa Industrial Zone Abu Dhabi (Kizad). Located between the UAE capital and Dubai at Taweelah, the free zone is a multi-billion dollar investment expected to become one of the world’s foremost industrial zones.

When complete, the development will boast one of the world’s most advanced deepwater seaports, a Union Rail terminal, and unparalleled connectivity to roads and nearby airports. Spread over a massive 417 square kilometres, the free zone will accommodate a number of clusters including; aluminium, steel, petrochemical, trade and logistics. Due for completion in 2012, it is hoped the zone will diversify the economy away from traditional oil and gas sectors.

The registration of free zone companies within Khalifa Industrial Zone Abu Dhabi was launched in June as part of the Abu Dhabi Investment Forum in Korea. So far Emirates Aluminum (EMAL) is based at Kizad and is busily ramping up production. There are also a number of other anchor customers in negotiation with Abu Dhabi Ports Company (ADPC) to set up at Kizad.

Salalah Free Zone

Cracking the list again in 2011, Oman’s Salalah Free zone truly deserves its repeat listing in this year’s top ten. Covering an area of 2000 hectares, Salalah Free Zone’s proximity to Salalah Port and growing markets around the region ideally places it to capitalise on the economic boom occurring in the Middle East and the subcontinent, especially economic powerhouse India.

The zone, which offers a mix of industrial, manufacturing, warehousing, logistics, distribution, R&D and office facilities, is currently being developed in multiple phases, with Phase one, which incorporates 200 hectares of distribution, logistics, freight forwarding and manufacturing facilities, already complete.

Phase two, which is currently under construction will provide 400 hectares of facilities similar to Phase one, with a further focus on light and medium industrial units.

Jebel Ali Free Zone

With an impressive size and reputation, when it comes to free zones Jebel Ali Free Zone Authority (Jafza) takes some beating. Established in 1985, Jafza covers more than 48 square kilometres and is home to approximately 6400 companies including over 120 of the Fortune Global 500 enterprises. Firms of note that call Jafza home include Siemens, Procter & Gamble, Samsung and Fujitsu.

The free zone is one of the fastest growing free zones in the world, growing its customer base by over 60 per cent in the past four years. It continues to prove its worth to the Dubai economy accounting for more than 50% of the emirates’ total exports.

Jafza’s operating excellence has not gone unnoticed with the free zone winning ‘Best International Logistics Project Award’ at the 7th Logistics Awards held in Spain last June.

Bahrain Logistics Zone

Based at the heart of the Gulf and located on 100 hectares of land within a few minutes from Khalifa bin Salman Port, Bahrain Logistics Zone is strategically located to take advantage of the region’s growing economies. With the zone dedicated to value added activities, Bahrain Logistics Zone markets itself as the first “boutique” logistics zone, in reference to it catering to a variety of intensive logistics activities.

In the zone’s favour, Bahrain has the shortest travel time between seaport, airport and its logistics processing zone of anywhere in the Gulf, enabling efficient processing of trade goods.

The $280 million project, counts Almoayed Wilhelmsen and CEVA amongst its portfolio, as well as a growing number of food distributors including; Mohamed Ali Zainal Abdulla (Maza) and Chunilal Purushottam & Co. The Bahrain Logistics Zone is owned and operated by the General Organisation of Sea Ports, Bahrain.

Dubai Logistics City

Acclaimed the world’s first multi-modal integrated logistics platform, Dubai Logistics City (DLC) accommodates nearly every transport mode in the supply chain imaginable. Located in close proximity to Jebel Ali Port and Al Maktoum International Airport and incorporating more than 25 square kilometres of free zone, Dubai Logistics City was created to handle the warehousing and transportation requirements of the Middle East for the next 40 to 50 years.

The multi-billion dollar project has allocated 1.1 million square metres of land to industrial and distribution companies, with each tenant either building their own facilities or renting shared premises.

A number of freight forwarding companies and logistics providers have committed to the development, with Panalpina, RSA Logistics, Kuehne & Nagel, and Ehrhardt + Partner Solutions (EPS) some of the big names already established in the free zone. With the opening of Al Maktoum International for cargo operations in June last year, this development has potential to undergo exponential growth in the coming years.

Ras Al Khaimah Free Trade Zone

Established in 2000 and covering six million square metres, Ras Al Khaimah Free Trade Zone (RAKFTZ) is the northern most free zone in the UAE. Already home to over 5000 companies, the zone has seen a solid increase in demand over the past year with 522 new companies registering in the first quarter of 2011, a 17 per cent increase in registrations over Q1 2010.

Underlining RAK FTZ’s attractiveness to foreign investors, among the 522 companies that registered between January and March, the majority (including the top 10) are from India (140), followed by United Kingdom (43), Egypt (29), Pakistan (27), Turkey (24), France (20), Germany (16), USA (15), Jordan (13) and the Russian Federation (13).

In another positive sign that the UAE economy has turned the corner, RAKFTZ has announced that a total of 970 licences were renewed during Q1 compared to 710 licences renewed in the corresponding period in 2010, representing an increase of 36.6 per cent. The UAE Government’s infrastructure investment in the northern emirate is playing a massive part in fuelling growth in the free zone with plans to construct a $43.3 million 36 kilometre water pipeline already underway.

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