Key partnerships and Industry support position support for growth in 2022
AD Ports Group emerged from a challenging 2020, when the global shipping industry was disrupted by Covid-19, to build a strong trajectory of growth throughout 2021, achieving a series of historic milestones and expanding its footprint in the region and beyond, the company revealed in a press release.
AD Ports Group closed 2021 with the signing of a number of strategic agreements with the Aqaba Development Corporation for the development of tourism, logistics, transport and marine-related enhancement projects in Aqaba, Jordan.
The strategic partnerships concern the development of Marsa Zayed, a cruise terminal, and the development of an advanced digital Port Community System, along with exploring the development and modernisation of a multipurpose port and Aqaba’s King Hussein International Airport.
The group reported a solid operational and financial performance throughout the year and this is apparent in its financial performance for the first nine months of 2021. The Group achieved revenue growth of 22% year-on-year to AED 2.791bn (US$ 760mn) compared with AED 2.295bn (US$ 625mn) in the same period last year, driven by volume growth, business diversification and new partnerships.
Container throughput grew to 2.47mn TEUs (twenty-foot equivalent units) in the first nine months of 2021, up from 2.42mn TEUs in the same period in 2020, despite the ongoing supply constraints faced in the global shipping and container market.
AD Ports Group received global interest in its successful issuance of a US$ 1bn bond and subsequent listing on the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange (ADX) and London Stock Exchange (LSE). Announced in the first half of 2021, the issuance at the time was more than 4.5 times oversubscribed at its peak.
The year 2021 also saw the completion of an extensive rebranding exercise that not only resulted in a new brand name but also a strategic reorganisation of the Group’s portfolio.
AD Ports Group also signed several breakthrough partnerships to accelerate trade and the development of industry in the UAE and beyond, including working closely with Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) to enhance safety across Abu Dhabi’s waterways and collaboration with France-based CMA CGM Group to invest AED 570mn in a new terminal at Khalifa Port.
The Group fully supported the resumption of cruise activities in the UAE and remains committed to developing the UAE’s cruise industry to serve as a key contributing factor to developing a diversified and sustainable economy.
AD Ports Group’s Offshore Support and Logistics Services Company (OFCO – Offshore International) acquired seven support vessels to extend the Group’s capabilities in providing highly efficient and cost-effective onshore and offshore integrated logistics solutions and subsea services. With various assets restructured under the umbrella of five clusters —Digital, Industrial Cities & Free Zone (IC&FZ), Logistics, Maritime, and Ports — AD Ports Group is now well-placed to realise a fully integrated portfolio of world-class ports, industrial zones, logistics, maritime, and digital solutions across the entire value chain.
“In the new year, the ongoing development of our maritime, industrial, and logistics capabilities will enable us to meet the future demand of a digitally-driven market and non-oil economy,” stated Falah Mohammad Al Ahbabi, Chairman, AD Ports Group.
“While the past year has been one of recovery for many around the world, we are proud of our efforts in evolving the UAE’s trade, logistics and industrial landscape and contributing to the renewed growth of the economy,” commented Capt. Mohamed Juma Al Shamisi, Managing Director and Group CEO, AD Ports Group.
2021 Highlights, Chronicles & Timeline
AD Ports Group continued to enhance its asset portfolio with new additions at the start of the year that will have an impact on regional trade for years to come.
This month, the development of an upcoming grain storage and processing plant within the Group’s flagship, deepwater Khalifa Port was announced. The new facility is being developed as part of a 50-year land lease agreement with Anchorage Investment and will be operated by National Feed, an Agro commodity processor.
With an initial design capacity of 300,000 metric tonnes, the grain storage and processing plant will provide customers with access to competitive food and animal feed products and long-term storage solution for grain cargo.
SAFEEN Group joined forces with Allianz Marine & Logistics Services (AMLS) to launch the Offshore Support and Logistics Services Company (OFCO – Offshore International), a dedicated global provider of integrated maritime logistic services.
As part of its efforts to modernise Abu Dhabi’s maritime ecosystem, Abu Dhabi Maritime signed a five-year agreement with ADNOC for enhanced exchange of information, data and expertise concerning the regulation and management of maritime activities, infrastructure developments and facilities across Abu Dhabi’s waterways.
AD Ports Group continued to leverage its logistical facilities, expertise, and innovative solutions to support the ‘HOPE Consortium’, an Abu Dhabi-led public-private partnership dedicated to delivering billions of vaccines around the world, by assisting in the safe storage and distribution of vials globally. I
In 2021, HOPE Consortium joined hands with the Kenya-based cargo airline, Astral Aviation, to enhance vaccine distribution within the African continent.
Developed by the Group’s Maqta Gateway, ‘mUnity’ is a proprietary custom-built digital system that utilises blockchain technology to track and trace Covid-19 vaccines from sourcing, storage, shipment, delivery, and final administration.
AD Ports Group demonstrated its pioneering role in developing and implementing digital transformation in the region by announcing a collaboration between ZonesCorpand Block 7 Investments to build the 820,000sqm Block 7 Innovation Hub in the Industrial City of Abu Dhabi.
Soon after the launch, OFCO entered into a partnership with Mammoet United Arab Emirates, the local arm of the global engineered heavy lifting and transport services company, to deliver an integrated portfolio of on and offshore turnkey transport and installation solutions
In this month, Helios Industry, a privately-owned special project vehicle company (SPV), announced plans to launch an AED 3.67bn (US$ 1bn) green ammonia production facility in KIZAD to produce 200,000 tonnes of green ammonia from 40,000 tonnes of green hydrogen, becoming the first production plant in the emirate to do so using renewable energy.
Fujairah Terminals, a vital economic, commercial, and logistics hub operating within Fujairah Port and wholly owned by AD Ports Group, completed expansion works that saw the addition of several multi-purpose facilities at the site.
Officially inaugurated by HH Sheikh Mohammed Bin Hamad Bin Mohammed Al Sharqi, Crown Prince of Fujairah, the expansion project which commenced three years prior has greatly increased general cargo throughput to 1.3mn tonnes and the amount of accessible multipurpose area for general cargo and Ro-Ro services up to 25,000sqm.
The Group’s efforts to instil innovation across its operations led to an AI-focused partnership between Abu Dhabi Terminals and Microsoft Corporation. The adoption of Artificial Intelligence Services offered as part of Azure, Microsoft’s Cloud platform has brought enhanced container tracking and autonomous shuttle capabilities across Abu Dhabi Terminal’s Khalifa Port Container Terminal (KPCT).
Efforts to introduce automation in other areas of Khalifa Port culminated with the implementation of the region’s first autonomous port truck system in July. CSP Abu Dhabi container terminal, the first greenfield project of COSCO Shipping Ports Limited (CSP), commissioned six electric Q-Trucks that are tasked with facilitating mother vessel loading and unloading activities within the facility’s container yard.
The IC&FZ Cluster expanded on several major projects including the pioneering Life Science Park that is home to four major pharmaceutical manufacturers and several labs and supporting services, 16 universities and more than 18 research centres.
ZonesCorp finalised and handed over 1.38mn sqm of commercial and retail areas dedicated to the Rahayel, the first integrated hub for the automotive industry. The strategically located hub is designed with an optimised integrated ecosystem, competitive utility rates and one-stop-shop services and features a range of facilities.
Abu Dhabi Maritime Academy and Columbia Ship Management (CSM) agreed to undertake joint research projects and actively explore prospective use-cases of AI-powered innovative maritime technologies for the future of the industry.
AD Ports Group and the General Company for Ports of Iraq (GCPI) collaborated to jointly invest and devise leading-edge solutions within transportation and maritime in this month. The partners will also work to develop national infrastructure that will aid in linking Al Faw Port in Iraq to markets in Jordan and Turkey.
As one of AD Ports Group’s more prolific agreements signed in 2021, the collaboration with CMA CGM Group, a world leader in shipping and logistics, will see the development of an AED 570mn (US$ 155mn) terminal in Khalifa Port, making it a regional hub for three of the world’s top four shipping companies.
AD Ports Group inked an initial agreement with Diyar Al Muharraq and the Eagle Hills Diyar Company to identify potential opportunities for the construction and operation of cruise infrastructure within the Kingdom of Bahrain.
In the same month, Lepidico Ltd, a global lithium exploration and development company, signed an agreement to develop the first lithium production facility in the Middle East in KIZAD. With the first phase already underway, the new AED 348mn (US$ 95mn) chemical plant will feature a host of clean-tech process technologies.
Another milestone partnership agreement was signed with Turkey’s Turkiye Varlik Fonu in the presence of HH Sheikh Mohamed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, and Chairman of the Abu Dhabi Executive Council, and President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
AD Ports Group’s Logistics cluster continued to offer a comprehensive portfolio comprising the most ultra-modern infrastructure and industry-leading service capability to its customers and stakeholders. MICCO Logistics’ service fleet grew with the acquisition of 31 tipper trucks, adding to its existing ground fleet, and widening its integrated logistics support capabilities for the metals manufacturing and construction sectors.
Apart from signing five agreements for the development of tourism, logistics, transport, and digital infrastructure within Aqaba, AD Ports Group’s Mugharraq Port was recognised as an international port facility. The certification was issued under the provisions of the International Code for the Security of Ships and of Port Facilities (ISPS Code) by the UAE’s Ministry of Energy and Infrastructure. A strategic port located in the Al Dhafra Region, Mugharraq Port can now receive international and local vessels including container feeders, bulk and break-bulk carriers, mobile offshore drilling units, tugboats, chemical tankers, offshore support vessels, passenger ships and high-speed cargo crafts.