Incorporating the principles and best practices of trade, the Jebel Ali Free Zone (Jafza) has since its inception stimulated trade and investment, facilitating the transfer of skills and knowledge to its partners in the free zone. The number of international firms located in Jafza is an indication of their ongoing success story.
As a vital trade and logistics hub and one of the largest business hubs in the region, DP World’s flagship free zone Jafza is home to over 8,700 customers. The specialised industrial, trading and logistic zone offers unprecedented growth opportunities and market access to over 3.5 billion people, across varied sectors in the MEASA region
The free zone’s ideal location alongside the region’s largest deep-sea Jebel Ali Port, its multimodal connectivity and proximity to the Al Maktoum International Airport, the much-awaited Etihad Railway and key regional highways has proved to be a major attraction for companies. Additionally, ow- ing to its integrated service offerings and provisions including Dual licensing, over 100 Fortune 500 companies prefer Jafza as their regional headquarters.
Some of the key segments that contribute to Jafza’s growth figures include Electronics & Electrical, Petrochem, Vehicle & Transport, Retail & General Trading, Machinery & Equipment and Healthcare & Pharma. In terms of trade value, countries such as China, Saudi Arabia and India continue to lead as trade partners. This growth has been complemented by DP World’s Trade Bridges that are a part of the entity’s AED 2 Tn trade Initiative.
Bridging the trade gap
In line with UAE’s strategic goals of enhancing bilateral trade ties with countries around the world, DP World introduces several trade bridges with countries and regions including India, China, Africa, Paki- stan, North America and Latin America. DP World’s trade bridges have been accelerators of Jafza’s success. In 2020, the free zone generated trade worth $104.2 billion. In H1 of 2021, the free zone witnessed a 40% growth in new customer registrations.
Reaching Indian shores
In 2019, DP World launched the In- dia-UAE Bridge, a trade and investment development initiative that aims to attract Indian businesses to its flagships, Jebel Ali Port and Jafza. Through this endeavour, the entity offers end-to-end solutions to companies and entrepreneurs and acts as a platform that allows ingenious Indian businesses to access markets in the Middle East and the world. The initiative allows Indian companies in various sectors to leverage DP World’s vast portfolio of ports, inland logistics and industrial zones in both UAE & India and globally. This gives companies access to new opportunities and markets and provides seamless supply chain solutions, while also complementing India’s vision of “Make in India to Make for the World” and facilitate profitable investments for Indian businesses.
To supplement business and ensure un- hindered trade operations in India and other regions around the world, DP World has also launched CARGOES, its digital logistics platform that will provide customers with a single-window solution for efficient movement of cargo. Additionally, as part of CARGOES, the Trade Finance platform provides financial institutions the opportunity to support SMEs with the capital needed.
Tapping Latin American markets
Latin America is of strategic importance to Dubai. According to the Dubai Chamber of Commerce & Industry (DCCI), Dubai’s exports, re-exports to Latin American nations reached $60.5 million in Q1 2021, witnessing a 69 percent leap, with Brazil and Mexico taking the largest market shares. To support this growth, DP World’s Latin American Bridge has played a vital role by inviting Latin American investors to benefit from Jafza, which offers proximity to world markets by way of creating re-export facilities. Its closeness to the Jebel Ali Port that offers 180+ shipping lines and 80+ weekly services, is an added advantage.
Gateway to Africa and Egypt
As a dynamic base for companies across all sectors, Jafza is also home to key partners from Afri- ca. Additionally, most companies set up their regional headquarters in the free zone to serve both these regions that have immense business growth potential. Taking this into consideration, DP World is capitalising on the competencies of the countries by introducing business bridges that will help to expand its network of logistics operations. DP World gives businesses the opportunity to utilise the entity’s presence across countries in Africa, from ports into Egypt, Senegal and Mozambique, to inland logistics facilities in Rwanda. With Jafza as a blueprint, DP World is also planning three free zones across Africa, in Egypt, Senegal and Somaliland. Together with expanded ports and inland gateways, this network will open up trade with Africa.
The country’s open economy, attractive business environment and continued economic growth have underpinned its status as a key international trade hub between the East and the West
More recently, DP World acquired South African company, Imperial Logistics, a leading name that will add significant strategic value to the company given its expansive global network and integrated logistics solutions. The new development will allow DP World to deliver end-to-end solutions to cargo owners across a wider market.
Additionally, in the Egyptian town of Sokhna construction is underway for a $560 million expansion that includes a second basin and a 35-hectare container yard. DP World has also agreed to a joint venture with the Suez Canal Economic Zone to develop an industrial and residential zone around Sokhna that will be 1.5 times the size of Jafza.
Attracting Chinese companies
The UAE’s geographical location and the dynamic market have proved as key differentiators that have captured the attention of the Chinese business community. This has given the country a vital status in the Belt & Road Initiative, which attempts to link China by both sea and land to markets in Asia and Europe. In alignment with the goals of our wise leadership and as a driver for economic growth in the UAE, Jafza has always been welcoming of Chinese companies from an array of sectors. Owing to our incentives and initiatives, the free zone has seen an increasing interest from Chinese companies to invest in Dubai and strengthen their presence in Jebel Ali.
In alignment with their goal of augmenting UAE-China trade, DP World in partnership with Zhejiang China Commodity City Group(CCC) recently launched the Yiwu Market as part of the first phase of Dubai Traders Market, located in the heart of Jafza. Dubai Traders Market will span approximately 800,000 square metres, with Yiwu Market covering about 200,000 square metres. The market will give traders and businesses from across the globe access to whole-sale discounts with minimised supply chain costs and turnaround times by leveraging DP World’s logistical expertise.
As a key growth engine of Dubai’s economy, the free zone is a leading source of FDI inflow into the emirate, accounting for 23.9 per cent of total foreign investment
Underpinning UAE’s and Dubai’s success
The UAE has consistently supported open trade and has stable trade relations with countries around the world. The country’s open economy, attractive business environment and continued economic growth have underpinned its status as a key international trade hub between the East and the West. This has helped the UAE achieve a ranking among the 20 leading countries in 16 global competitiveness indexes related to foreign trade in 2020. This marks a new achievement, reaffirming the country’s status as a key centre of international trade.
Bin Damithan adds, “The economy of Dubai specifically has always been resilient, having the ability to recover instantly from financial downturns. Since the onset of the global pandemic, the emirate showcased this very grit and determination by achieving double-digit growth in external non-oil trade during the first quarter of 2021. As a key growth engine of Dubai’s economy, the free zone is a leading source of FDI inflow into the emirate, accounting for 23.9 percent of total foreign investment. Additionally, we also contribute 32 percent to the total trade value of Dubai.”
Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Dubai Crown Prince and Chairman of The Executive Council of Dubai disclosed that Dubai’s foreign trade surged 10 percent during the January-March 2021 quarter and reached AED354.4 billion. In terms of trade, China remained Dubai’s largest trading partner in the January-March quarter with AED44 billion worth of trade, representing a growth of 30 percent. India took the second position, amounting to trade worth AED35 billion, with a growth of 17 percent. The USA, third with trade worth AED15.4 billion and Saudi Arabia held the fourth position with AED14.7 billion worth of trade, growing 20 percent.
Our several bridges nurture bilateral trade and drive cross-border investments, facilitating access to larger markets and a wider consumer base