Khalifa Economic Zones Abu Dhabi - KEZAD Group, the integrated trade, logistics, and industrial hub of Abu Dhabi, has announced the signing of a 50-year land lease agreement with speciality tissue manufacturer, Star Paper Mill, for the establishment of a new facility to manufacture recycled Kraft Paper Jumbo reels, diversifying the company’s product offering to serve a growing demand for biodegradable packaging papers in the UAE.

Under the agreement, Star Paper Mill in collaboration with RC Paper Machines, will expand its existing capacities with an investment of AED200 million in a 59,000 square metre site in KEZAD to manufacture recycled kraft paper jumbo reels to be used to manufacture corrugated cartons and high in demand, 100 per cent eco-friendly biodegradable bag papers out of recycled raw materials.

Promoting the UAE capital’s environmental initiatives, the announcement comes on the back of Abu Dhabi’s milestone ban on single-use plastic bags, effective from 1 June 2022, the first in the region to introduce an integrated, single-use plastic policy to cut down the overall use of plastics to drive an eco-friendly future.

Abdullah Al Hameli, Chief Executive Officer of Economic Cities and Free Zones Cluster at AD Ports Group, said: “AD Ports Group is committed to driving sustainable manufacturing through strategic partnerships and investments within KEZAD, in line with our wise leadership’s vision to enhance industrial competitiveness while maintaining a long-term positive impact on the environment.

“Today, the Green Agenda in Abu Dhabi and the UAE is moving ahead with ambitious initiatives which are already underway, such as the transition away from single-use plastic and the incentive-based bottle return scheme. Adding to these, we are honoured to support Star Paper Mill’s product diversification efforts in KEZAD to contribute to a cleaner environment for the community and support a circular economy in the UAE.”

Hussain Adam Ali, Chairman of Star Paper Mill, said: “In line with the vision of UAE leaders, we in Star Paper Mill believe that to be successful and create long-term value in the future, being sustainable and adopting a circular system is vital. We are using this opportunity as a huge advantage for us to create products to achieve reduced carbon emissions and operate as a sustainable industry.

Star Paper Mill’s new facility would have installed capacity of 135,000 tonnes to manufacture recycled semi kraft liner, white top liner, testliner, fluting and bag paper, alongside areas for storage and general use. Approximately 10,000 TEUs cargo will be handled at Khalifa Port annually as part of the facility needs covering raw material and finished goods.

Majid Rasheed, Managing Director of Star Paper Mill, said: “With this facility, we’ll expand our already successful platform to better serve growing demand in local, regional and international markets. We are very pleased with the decision of our Board of Directors to approve this project in KEZAD.

“Given the project’s financial scale and KEZAD Group’s unique ecosystem, strategic location, world-class infrastructure and integration with the region’s fastest growing port and with its excellent global connectivity to our key consumer markets, we strongly believe this project will effectively make Star Paper Mill’s products a household consumer name in global markets.”

The company is also reserving an additional 32,000 square metres adjacent to the primary plot earmarked for the project to accommodate expected increase in demand. Together, the plots offer the project state-of-the-art primary infrastructure corridors alongside a natural gas pipeline network that would contribute to significant cost efficiency.

Committed to producing eco-friendly products, the project will apply the latest innovation in processing waste generated from the facility, using an effluent treatment plant to recycle water and reuse it. The raw materials used, including OCC, NCC, NDLKC, and sack kraft waste, will be sourced locally in the UAE to reduce transport-related emissions.

The announcement of Star Paper Mill’s new facility expands the organisation’s existing presence in AD Ports Group’s Economic Cities & Free Zones, which at present comprises a hygiene tissue paper manufacturing mill spread over 27,000 square metres with current installed capacity of 36,000 tonnes.