Through its regional reach, automation, infrastructural resilience, and multimodal logistics, Jafza enables retail companies to access varied markets, facilitate efficient cross-border trade, use advanced services, and seamlessly coordinate supply chains
“Unlike many neighbouring countries with natural resources and sufficient wealth to meet their requirements, we have no option but to create and innovate. Without it, we will face starvation. But, we are not the ones to back down from a challenge,” said Sultan Ahmed Bin Sulayem, Chairman and CEO of DP World Group, as he concluded the success story of DP World and the potential of the port of Jebel Ali to transform global trade.
Despite pessimistic outlooks, the port has evolved from being considered a white elephant and only suitable as a local port to a trade and logistical centre, catering to a consumer base of 3.5 billion individuals.
Jafza, the largest free zone in the DP World portfolio, has been a key driver in attracting businesses to Dubai. It is part of the success story of the emirate and is a key enabler of economic growth. In 2021, the free zone generated AED 53.7 billion, which accounted for more than nine per cent of the total trade value (AED 592.7 billion) of the emirate. In the same year, Jafza handled almost 25 per cent of all trade volume for Dubai, which amounted to 1.2 million MT out of 4.9 million MT. And it continues to support global trade on a major scale.
As one of the biggest retail trade hubs, Jafza’s success has been contributed to by the RAIL ecosystem, which stands for Reach, Automation, Infrastructure, and Logistics. This facilitates the flow of global trade across all sectors, and has significantly contributed to the growth of companies, particularly in the retail industry.
The following report will delve deeper into the functioning of the RAIL ecosystem, which keeps retail businesses on the right track towards achieving success.
The Pillars of RAIL Ecosystem
Jafza’s RAIL ecosystem combines all the capabilities of the free zone, aiding international retail trade and helping corporations to optimise their supply chain and logistics operations. The RAIL ecosystem allows retail enterprises to achieve maximum efficiency, speed, and profitability.
To achieve the RAIL model, DP World dedicated significant resources to optimise all facets of the supply chain and implement industry-leading practices. As a result, the company’s trade and logistics hub in Jebel Ali, encompassing both the port and Jafza, became the ideal destination for businesses seeking to establish themselves and manage complex logistical operations on a global level.
The Regional Reach
Jafza leverages its advantageous location in Dubai to boost the retail industry. With an eight-hour flight radius providing access to 65 per cent of the global GDP, and direct connections to over 180 ports through 80+ weekly service calls via 150+ ship-liners, Jafza is strategically positioned to facilitate global trade.
DP World’s trade bridges with prominent retail markets like China, India, and Africa have created unrivalled trade corridors for the smooth flow of goods, setting Jafza apart from other trade centres worldwide. This has given retail companies robust access to suppliers and customers, maximising their profitability.
The free zone also provides uninterrupted 24/7 trade connectivity to multiple destinations, allowing retail enterprises to consolidate their distribution in one place. By making Jafza a centre of its operations, any company can stay on track when it comes to reducing operational costs and exploring new markets for the growth and development of its business.
All this makes the free zone a preferred destination for over 9,500 companies. Within this group, more than 1,380 retail and general trading companies from 94+ countries have chosen to call Jafza home.
Smart Solutions for Smarter Trade
One of the most significant features of Jafza is its cutting-edge, automated systems that oversee its facilities and equipment. These systems seamlessly integrate with the premium digital platforms, enabling e-commerce and logistics services. This includes a range of technological tools, from port management systems, Internet of Things (IoT) devices, and autonomous trucks and gates, to smart portals and AI-enabled applications.
Clients can take advantage of the user-friendly and efficient digital platforms available to corporations operating within Jafza. These platforms simplify and expedite retail trade processes and include:
Dubai Trade: A comprehensive platform for cross-border trade, Dubai Trade offers close to 700 e-services. The smart portal simplifies trade engagement and logistics operations for all parties involved in the trade process, including Jebel Ali Port, Jafza, Dubai Customs, Dubai Municipality, Dubai Chamber of Commerce, and many others. The portal provides numerous services to support importers and exporters, shipping lines and agents, clearing and forwarding agents, hauliers, and free zone licensees.
CARGOES: Developed by DP World after gaining 40 years of experience in logistics, it is a digital solution to address inefficiencies in the supply chain and enhance tracking capabilities for shipments to global ports.
DUBUY.com: This innovative B2B e-marketplace, owned by DP World, provides end-to-end supply chain solutions for businesses in Africa and beyond, connecting them to regional and international markets.
SeaRates: This digital facility started in 2005 and is a trusted community marketplace for international cargo delivery of small packages to shiploads.
Digital Freight Alliance: This association connects freight forwarders to cargo opportunities, and offers digital tools for members to simplify digital transformation.
These automated, innovative digital solutions have helped retail trade establishments streamline their operations and access the services they need quickly and efficiently.
Jafza offers world-class infrastructure, state-of-the-art facilities and a stress-free environment to support retail traders in conducting business. The free zone has a range of amenities over its 57 km2 total area; offering products such as land, warehouses, offices, and staff residence.
Located close to Jebel Ali port, the free zone offers a modern marine infrastructure network, including 11 terminals and over 100 berths across 25 kilometres of the quay. The port alone handled 14 million TEUs in 2022, signifying its superior ability to speed up retail trade.
Meanwhile, Dubai Traders Market, located adjacent to Jafza, will host over 20,000 global trading entities in its 200,000 m2 infrastructure once completed, becoming one of the biggest marvels of infrastructural brilliance.
Moreover, Jafza’s facilities and premises are safeguarded by advanced security systems and CCTVs, ensuring the safety of all tenants. This is made possible through World Security, a DP World-owned integrated security and facility management provider. As a result, businesses can operate in Jafza with peace of mind, knowing that their operations are secure and hassle-free.
“Jafza’s expertise in multimodal logistics, including sea, air, and road transportation, ensures seamless cross-border trade for its clients. The container freight station boasts a vast open storage area of 250,000 m2 and a covered storage area of 20,000 m2, making it one of the largest in the region.”
Jafza also offers comprehensive inventory management, order fulfilment, and transportation. Retailers can make use of the free zone’s supply chain management expertise and resources to streamline operations, lower expenses, and enhance customer satisfaction.
The trade hub boasts a total logistics facility space of 4.3 million m2. The logistics industry has over 550 companies from 20 countries, employing 16,000 individuals.
Jafza’s expertise in multimodal logistics, ensures seamless cross-border trade for its clients. The container freight station boasts a vast open storage area of 250,000 m2 and a covered storage area of 20,000 m2, making it one of the largest in the region. Jafza offers inter-terminal transport, cross-stuffing, cross-dock solutions, and a car storage hub solution. Moreover, Jafza’s Jebel Ali ‘Delay in Transit’ solution helps clients avoid storage and demurrage charges.
On the other side, the free zone’s trucking and distribution services use a variety of trucks, and their experienced staff and operators provide last-mile delivery, track and trace, fast turnaround, and insurance and safety to ensure the timely distribution of goods.
The warehousing solutions encompass cool storage (7,000 m2, +10°C to +20°C), cold storage (10,500 m2, -29°C to +13°C), dry warehouse (17,500 m2), and Jebel Ali Hub storage (14,000 m2), catering to a wide range of industries.
Finally, the Logistics Park provides mid-sized warehousing facilities, ranging from 5,000 to 10,000 m2, along with office space and amenities, allowing businesses flexibility and rapid expansion opportunities in Dubai.
- In 2021, the free zone generated 53.7 billion AED of Dubai’s overall trade value
- Jafza has handled 1.2 million MT in trade volume for Dubai
- Jafza supported 11,000 port customers in 2021
- The trade hub boasts a total logistics facility space of 4.3 million m2
- The Logistics Park provides warehouse facilities, ranging from 5,000 to 10,000 m2
- The logistics industry has over 550 companies from 20 countries
Jafza’s RAIL Never Runs Out of Steam
Jafza’s RAIL ecosystem is a model of success and sustainability for the retail sector. It allows businesses dealing with top commodities such as clothing, footwear, sanitary ware, kitchenware, bags and luggage, and toys and games to operate efficiently without losing momentum.
The four components – reach, automation, infrastructure, and logistics – work seamlessly together, providing retail goliaths like Landmark, Apparel, Alshaya, Jashanmal, LuLu, BFL and Puma the opportunity to optimise their supply chain and logistics operations. This is the reason the free zone’s key trade partners, including China, India, the USA, Saudi Arabia and many others, use its ecosystem as a reliable and effective tool in driving the success of all businesses in the retail industry.
Thanks to its exceptional RAIL capabilities in supporting the retail sector, Jafza has become a household name, present in every home, and a part of all the moments of celebration and seasons throughout the region. This reflects the real value of reliable trade flow that is affordable and accessible to the community.