Having just celebrated the anniversary of its first year of commercial operation, today we focus on the port and talk to Captain Ashraf Mabrouk, Khalifa Port Harbour Master about his experiences and the development of the facility.
Khalifa Port, commenced commercial operations on September 1st 2012 and was officially inaugurated on 12 December 2012 by the UAE’s President, His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nayhan and is the first semi-automated container terminal in the region. The port is equipped with latest technology and equipment in the industry, including six super post panamax ship to shore cranes which can reach across 22 container stacks on a ship, and 30 automated stacking cranes and 20 straddle carriers.
Zayed Port (opened in 1972) in the centre of Abu Dhabi city, was previously the main port but had exceeded its handling capacity with had no space for expansion. The opening of Khalifa Port meant that all container (TEU) traffic could be transferred to the new port. Zayed Port has since been able to focus on bulk cargo, general cargo, RORO and establishing the itself as a world class cruise destination.
One year on from its opening, direct connections link Khalifa Port to more than 40 international destinations and transshipment at the world’s main hubs, such as Singapore, Tanjung Pelepas on the Straits of Malacca; Hong Kong and Shenzhen in the Pearl River Delta; Port Said at Suez Canal; and Algeciras and Tangiers at the Straits of Gibraltar offering customers a truly global reach.
Captain Mabrouk (pictured right), Khalifa Port harbour master, has more than ten years of experience in the sector and spoke to Luke Upton, Editor, Tank Storage World about the port. Captain Mabrouk is particularly proud of being one of the Khalifa Port team during the study, Go-live and operational phases this mega project which is the flagship state of the art gateway to Abu Dhabi. ‘It is a major milestone in my career’ he said.
Looking to the future, Captain Mabrouk added: “We are proud of our achievements during the first year of operation at the port of Khalifa, we are handling many different types of vessels such as container, bulk carrier, tankers and general cargo vessels and are already working on expanding our facilities and seeking new opportunities. There are challenges of course, as we are in a competitive business but we are excited about where the future will take us and the contribution of Khalifa Industrial Zone Abu Dhabi “KIZAD” which is adjacent to the port and will contribute significantly to the ports sustainable growth.
Focusing on the most important player in the marine industry “the seaman” Captain Mabrouk is also looking forward to establishing an often neglected aspect of port development – the facility for a “seaman’s club” which will add an important social and humanitarian aspect to the port business. He adds: ‘We look forward to making every visit to Khalifa Port an enjoyable part of the journey for the vessel owners, shipping lines, masters and the vessels crew.’
To read more about Khalifa Port and see some fantastic videos from its first year of operations please click here.