“Khalifa Port” draws the future of maritime industry in the region


The “Khalifa Port” is considered the first semi-automated port in the region characterized by the depth of its channel which allows the transit of the largest container ships in the world making it one of the most modernized and competitive ports in the region. Built on an artificial island with an area of more than 2.7 square kilometers, basin depth of about 16.5 meters with a sidewalk of about 4 kilometers equipped with the latest technologies. On its platform stands 9 super gantry cranes “Super Post Panamax” for handling containers from the ship to the station’s platform, in addition to 38 automated levers for amassing containers.

The Port’s Stages of Development     

The port’s development goes through five stages; a special platform has been built for the Emirates’ Aluminum smelter (EMAL) which is now operating at full capacity. The port’s basin depth is about 16 meters along 4 kilometers, while the depth of the marine channel reaches about 16.5 meters with a width of 250 meters along 13 kilometers; and the environmental breakwater amounts to a length of 8 kilometers.  Abu Dhabi Ports spent about 880 million AED (equivalent to 240 million US dollars) to build an 8 kilometers breakwater to protect marine life and coral reefs in the port’s area.

Capacity and Operational Capabilities

Khalifa Port provides equipped docks, facilities, and advanced services that enhance its readiness to accommodate the expected increase in rolling cargo and vehicle shipments. The port’s scalable design contributes to the increase in its operational capacity to meet the needs of the region’s markets in the GCC countries, Africa and the Indian Subcontinent. The current annual capacity of the Khalifa port is nearly 360,000 vehicles with plans to increase capacity to more than 500,000 units a year in the future.

Khalifa Port can handle four of the largest vehicle cargo ships simultaneously which is twice the capacity of the Zayed port reducing the time spent by the vessel in the port and increases the efficiency of the supply chain to serve shipping lines. 

For the first time in 2014, Abu Dhabi Ports received more than 100,000 vehicles setting a record for the arrival of 106,071 units from different types and sizes. Vehicle shipments achieved a growth of about 18.8% compared to 2013.

Khalifa Port offers the competitive advantage of faster access to surrounding markets in the region with a population of more than 4.5 billion within four time zones, and today serves more than 17 international shipping lines; in addition to providing key services and direct links to more than 40 ports and international destinations as well as re-shipping operations to the world’s other major ports. The port’s operational capacity is about 2.5 million TEU’s and more than 12 million tons in general cargo and bulk within the first development stage. It is expected with the completion of all stages of development, the operational capacity of the port would increase to 15 million TEU’s and about 35 million tons in general cargo a year.

Maritime Services Provided to Companies and Investors

There is a wide range of customized services provided for corporations and investors such as vessel traffic services in Khalifa Port which aims to renew, manage and control the arrival of ships to the port, notify ships to the availability of qualified captains to assist the ship’s leadership in entering the port and transit the channel to the port; in addition to towing services through strong and modern boats specifically designed to help all ships dock in the port, berthing services are carried out by “anchoring workers” trained to ensure all lines of handling ships comply with safety standards. Other services include canoes services to assist in providing offshore support and other on-demand services such as fresh water, waste disposal services, supply and logistics.  

The Khalifa Port Accomplishments

The Khalifa Port which is currently focusing on securing major shipping lines that directly and constantly transport goods to and from Abu Dhabi, has succeeded in attaining record figures in terms of growth rate, size of container handling and productivity compared to the previous year; the container terminal at Khalifa Port run by Abu Dhabi Terminals witnessed a 35% increase in size of container handling in the first quarter of the year and the number of TEU’s increased to 302,151TEU’s compared to the same period in 2014 which recorded an increase of 224,080TEU’s.

Khalifa Port and Abu Dhabi Vision 2030

Khalifa Port is considered the right arm for Abu Dhabi’s ports and a key pillar for the economic vision of Abu Dhabi 2030 which aims to diversify sources of income for the capital (Abu Dhabi) moving away from dependence on oil. The maritime sector is seen as the main pillar for this distinguished vision, all the way to supporting the economic development of the emirate, strengthening its customer service and providing all maritime, logistics, shipping and re-shipping services.