AD Ports Group has continued to expand its presence in major trade regions and maritime routes for the UAE during 2023 by investing in developing ports as part of continued efforts to enhance global trade and support economic diversification in the emirate.
At the beginning of 2023, AD Ports Group began with the inauguration of the Aqaba Cruise Terminal, the first-of-its-kind facility in Jordan and concluded with the signing of a definitive concession agreement with the Red Sea Ports Authority for the development and operation of a multipurpose terminal at Safaga Sea Port.
AD Ports Group also strengthened its global footprint through strategic agreements and partnerships. As part of the group’s Africa strategy and commitment to strategic development within emerging markets, it signed a 30-year extendable concession agreement to manage and operate a multipurpose terminal in Congo’s Pointe Noire Port.
AD Ports Group also took significant financial strides investing in future growth, including securing a AED7.3 billion (USD 2 billion) corporate facility with a syndicate of 13 banks in April 2023. The demand for the facility demonstrated the confidence that the banking sector has in AD Ports Group’s financial health and future prospects. During the nine months of 2023, the group’s revenue grew by 116% year-on-year to AED8.11 billion, EBITDA grew 30% year-on-year to AED2.14 billion and net profit grew 14% year-on-year to AED1.07 billion.
A key milestone in the group’s international expansion strategy was the landmark acquisition of 100% of Noatum, a global integrated logistics services provider with presence across all major global markets and trade lanes. The acquisition brought together two major industry players, each with its strengths and capabilities, to form a global powerhouse in the trade and logistics space.
AD Ports Group’s focus on investing in key maritime trade routes for the UAE, while replicating the company’s integrated business model in regions that offer long-term and sustainable growth prospects, was reflected in the signing of a 50-year concession agreement with Karachi Port Trust for the development of a state-of-the-art container terminal. Under the terms of the 50-year concession agreement, the joint venture will undertake significant investments in infrastructure and superstructure over the next 10 years, with the bulk of it planned for 2026, which aims to drive growth, promote trade diversification, and strengthen bilateral ties between the UAE and Pakistan.
His Excellency Falah Mohammad Al Ahbabi, Chairman of AD Ports Group, said: "2023 was not just a year of growth and expansion for AD Ports Group; it was a year where the group forged to redefine the boundaries of the maritime and logistics industry. Our achievements are not merely a reflection of our strategy, but an example that traditional approaches no longer suffice in the fast-evolving global market. We have embraced change, not just to lead but to revolutionise the industry. As we forge ahead, aligned with our wise leaders’ vision, our commitment to sustainability, innovation and global connectivity will continue to be the cornerstones of our journey."
Captain Mohamed Juma Al Shamisi, Managing Director and Group CEO of AD Ports Group, said: "This year, AD Ports Group transformed into one of the leading global players in our industry, entering new markets and reshaping them to ensure positive impacts for our stakeholders and the communities in which we operate. As we have faced uncertainty within the industry due to geopolitical headwinds, our approach has remained bold and always forward thinking, thanks to the guidance of the UAE’s wise leadership. Our rapid expansion and diverse investments are vital steps towards charting a future where AD Ports Group is synonymous with global presence, innovation and resilience within the global trade and logistics landscape."
The group’s efforts in addressing climate change in line with the UAE’s net-zero strategy have been evidenced and lauded with several global awards this year. The group received the Best Sustainability Initiative Award at the ADSG Awards 2023. The recognition underscores the group’s innovative and strategic approach to preserving and enhancing the Ras Ghanada Coral Reef – a cornerstone of marine biodiversity in the UAE and the Gulf region. Among other notable recognitions, KEZAD Group, part of AD Ports Group, earned the prestigious United Nations Investment Promotion Awards 2023, acknowledging its significant role in attracting investment in renewable energy and clean technologies.
In terms of major recognitions and accolades, the group’s flagship port, Khalifa Port, which was voted as the Port of the Year by the Maritime Standard Awards, achieved a Guinness World Record title for the largest shipping container logo and was ranked the 3rd most efficient container port globally on the 2022 Container Port Performance Index. The Abu Dhabi Cruise Terminal, located at Zayed Port, was named both the world’s and the Middle East’s Best Cruise Terminal by the World Cruise Awards, further solidifying Abu Dhabi’s standing as a premier cruise destination of choice and highlighting Zayed Port’s world-class facilities and hospitality.
In October, AD Ports Group hosted the 2023 edition of the IAPH World Ports Conference at a juncture for the ports and shipping sectors, marking the first time this prestigious event has taken place within the MENA region. Under the theme Reinventing Ports, the 2023 IAPH World Ports Conference united major players in the ports sector to discuss opportunities and challenges for sustainable growth of the ports industry given its position as the backbone of the global economy. The group also hosted on the sidelines of the IAPH conference, the 61st annual meeting of the Arab Sea Ports Federation, chaired by Captain Mohamed Juma Al Shamisi, Managing Director and Group CEO of AD Ports Group, confirming the pivotal position that Abu Dhabi is playing within the industry both regionally and internationally.