The new port only began commercial operations this September, since when 24 shipping lines have moved their local container businesses to Khalifa Port at Taweelah, 60 km east of the city centre.
The last container vessel to call at Mina Zayed at the end of last week was the ‘Jolly Arancione voy 290’, operated the Italian Messina Line, the first shipping line to call at the port and appropriately becoming the last. Since its first call in 1995, the line has handled more than 600,000 teu at the facility.
Mina Zayed started operations just six months before the establishment of the UAE. It will continue to serve cruise passengers, dry bulk and break bulk cargo, including large materials for infrastructure projects, and roll-on/roll-off cargo to the local market. Last year (2011) the city-centre facility handled around 770,000 teu.
With an initial capacity to handle 2.5m teu annually and the potential to expand to 5m, Khalifa Port more than compensates for the capacity lost with the end of the container business near the city centre. It can also handle 12 million tonnes of general cargo every year.
“With the strategic redirection of container traffic to Khalifa Port, Abu Dhabi’s ports have the capacity to handle more containers, more cargo and more cruise liners. The extra capacity gives every business and government entity in Abu Dhabi the means to grow and develop,” said Martijn Van de Linde, the CEO of ADT. He added that Khalifa Port is “an engine driving Abu Dhabi’s economic diversification”.
Khalifa Port has six of the world’s largest ship-to-shore cranes and an automated stacking system that is more advanced than any other port facility in the Middle East. Its 16 m deep-sea berths can accommodate the largest container vessels.
“The deep berths will enable us to take the big ‘main line’ ships from Europe and Asia for the first time and eliminate the need for feeder ships to service the local market from larger regional ports. This is a crucial step on Abu Dhabi’s journey to becoming an international shipping hub,” continued Van de Linde.