His Highness Sheikh Khaled bin Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Member of the Abu Dhabi Executive Council and Chairman of the Abu Dhabi Executive Office, has met with Rodolphe Saadé, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of France-based CMA CGM Group, a leading global container transportation and shipping group.

In the meeting, His Highness reviewed the details of the partnership to be established between CMA CGM Group, which operates 49 port terminals in 27 countries via its subsidiaries CMA Terminals and Terminal Link, and AD Ports Group, part of ADQ, one of the region’s largest holding companies with a broad portfolio of major enterprises spanning key sectors of Abu Dhabi’s diversified economy.

The meeting was attended by His Excellency Mohamed Ali Al Shorafa, Chairman of Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development, and His Excellency Falah Mohammed Al Ahbabi, Chairman of AD Ports Group, Captain Mohamed Juma Al Shamisi, Group CEO, AD Ports Group, and senior representatives from CMA CGM Group. The partnership will further cement Abu Dhabi’s position as a global marine trade hub and will advance economic development.

At the meeting, His Highness witnessed the signing of a 35-year concession agreement between AD Ports Group and CMA CGM Group. As per the agreement, CMA CGM Group will establish a new regional hub at Khalifa Port, for reaching key markets in South Asia, Western Asia, and North and East Africa, as well as the Middle East.

His Highness also toured Khalifa Port, visiting the recently opened South Quay facility. His Highness praised the significant progress the port has made in advancing its position among the world’s 100 container ports and for being one of the fastest-growing ports in the world. His Highness stressed the importance of continuing to expand the port and increase the number of maritime routes, to achieve the goal of supporting maritime trade and the growth of sectors of strategic priority in Abu Dhabi.

Under the terms of the agreement, a new terminal will be established at Khalifa Port, the first semi-automated container port in the GCC region, which will be managed by a joint venture owned by CMA CGM Group’s subsidiary CMA Terminals (70 percent stake) and AD Ports Group (30 percent stake). The partners are expected to commit a total of approximately AED570 million (USD154 million) to the project.

With construction starting in 2021, the new terminal is set to be handed over in 2024, with phase one including an initial quay length of 800 metres and an estimated annual capacity of 1.8 million TEUs. AD Ports Group will be responsible for developing a wide range of supporting marine works and infrastructure, including up to a total of 1,200 metres of quay wall, a 3,800-metre breakwater, a fully built-out rail platform, and 700,000sqm of terminal yard.

CMA CGM Group is the third of the world’s top-four shipping entities to join forces with Abu Dhabi’s leading facilitator of trade, logistics and industry. The agreement confirms Khalifa Port’s position as one of only a few major ports in the world, and the only in the region, to provide hubs for three of the world’s top shipping lines, as well as serving as an instrumental part of the global maritime trade, connecting markets from east to west.

HE Falah Mohammed Al Ahbabi, Chairman of AD Ports Group, said: “One of the key factors that has greatly contributed to the economic growth of Abu Dhabi and the UAE has been our stable economic environment that is ripe for foreign investment. Coupled with competitive free zone and business engagement initiatives that aid foreign businesses in establishing a presence in the country with ease, the UAE has become a key investment destination among many of the world’s leading players seeking to extend their reach into the Middle East.

“Today’s landmark agreement with CMA CGM Group is a prime example of those continued efforts and one that will significantly accelerate trade and the development of industry in the UAE and beyond.

“As well as driving increased trade volumes through our port and elevating the UAE’s economic development, we expect the facility’s capacity and added trade links with other high-profile port destinations will drive investment into local businesses and our industrial zones, fast-track the development of key sectors including manufacturing and logistics, and raise demand for manpower.

“In all, we project that over the next five years the CMA Terminals joint venture will drive further development of the Khalifa Industrial Zone Abu Dhabi (KIZAD), while simultaneously contributing significantly to national GDP.”

Captain Mohamed Juma Al Shamisi, Group CEO, AD Ports Group, said: "The addition of a new container terminal at Khalifa Port, which will be managed by a joint venture formed in collaboration with CMA Terminals, opens a new chapter in our organisation’s efforts to become a key facilitator of global trade, and elevates Abu Dhabi’s standing as both a regional and an international hub for maritime trade.

“The addition of another leading worldwide shipping group company will make Khalifa Port a hub for three of the world’s top shipping companies. This addition creates opportunities to open trade routes to new markets in Europe, Africa, Western Asia, and South Asia. At home, we expect the presence of the shipping line terminal, which will link directly to Khalifa Port’s upcoming rail terminal and utilise its services, to accelerate trade flows moving in and out of the UAE, while also encouraging CMA CGM Group’s customers to consider establishing a presence in Abu Dhabi.”

Rodolphe Saadé, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the CMA CGM Group, said: “The ambitious project we are launching today in Abu Dhabi marks an important milestone in CMA CGM’s development strategy in the region.

This state-of-the-art terminal will contribute to enhancing Khalifa Port’s position as a leading global hub and to boosting the region's economy, accelerating trade flows in and out of Abu Dhabi.

It will also enable our Group to expand its shipping and logistics network in the region, where we see a lot of growth potential.”