Abu Dhabi's Khalifa Port, which is region's first semi-automated container terminal, is preparing for its grand opening on September 1, bringing new opportunities for the oil-rich emirate.
The new port would welcome the world's jumbo vessels with a length of up to 400 meters and a draft of 16 meters to drop their anchors, which was not possible at Mina Zayed.
"The operations of the new container terminal will officially commence on September 1," Martijn Van de Linde, chief executive officer of Abu Dhabi Terminals, said in an interview.
The transition from Mina Zayed would be completed in six months, the chief executive said.
"The opening means the infrastructure for the first phase of the megaproject will be officially completed," the terminal operator said in an interview with Khaleej Times.
"We will offer the shipping lines, importers and exporters and not least the trucking companies vastly improved service levels of true world-class standard," he said.
The chief executive of ADT said that the container terminal at Port Zayed, which served Abu Dhabi for the past four decades, would be de-commissioned in the first quarter of next year.
However, the general cargo including steel, flour, fruit and vegetable would continue to be handled at the port for at least for a number of years to come. Also the oil mill and the flour mill which are located on the port premises would continue to operate in Mina Zayed. Once the container business transition is complete, some facilities in Mina Zayed would be turned into a cruise terminal, to support the increasing tourist arrivals on cruise liners.
Served by six of the world's largest ship-to-shore cranes from the outset, it will also be the first port in the region connected to Etihad Rail freight from 2015-16.
In the last four years, he said Abu Dhabi's industrial diversification has created export cargoes bringing business for the port.
"The export cargo handling in our port has increased 20 per cent in the past two years," he said.
The chief executive is confident that his port "will have enough business to handle in the coming years, since project pipeline in Abu Dhabi is not going to dry down." The expansion into oil and gas and infrastructure projects which used imported material would continue for several years to come, he said.