Aqaba's 'Berth Expansion' on target for continued growth
Shipping increase boosts regional confidence12 March, 17:02
(ANSA) - Rome, March 11 - Soren Hansen unabashedly admits his excitement. "It feels like the night before Christmas...everything has just come together perfectly," said the CEO of Aqaba Container Terminal (ACT) in Jordan, explaining the successful completion of the first phase of its Berth Expansion project, extending the quay length 200 meters to accomodate ever-increasing shipping traffic in the port city of Aqaba.
The liberalized duty-free area known as ASEZA (Aqaba Special Economic Zone) is a gateway for access to the Middle East, Asia and Europe. "Aqaba has become a point of reference, a hub, for shipping of all sorts, not just containers," Hansen said.
On top of being a burgeoning resort area, ASEZA is increasingly becoming a point of reference as a transit gateway for commerce and shipping, growing rapidly in volume and extension yearly.
Alongside the expansion of the terminal's size, equipment is also being supplemented to include two more ship-to-shore (STS) cranes and four rubber-tired gantry (RTG) cranes, as well as tug boats and further dry docks for inspections. Expanded rows will allow for an average of 30 moves per hour and can serve 3 ships simultaneously.
"We are excited about our growth...thrilled. And we also feel proud that we are able to stick to our master plan's strict environmental guidelines, making sure that each element in our expansion is sure to preserves the unique landscape and marine life," His Exellency Ghassan A. Ghanem, CEO of Aqaba Development Corporation (ADC) told ANSA.
A press conference to announce the successful completion of the first phase of the Berth Expansion project was hosted Monday at the ACT premises in Aqaba.
The conference teamed with influential figures including ACT's chairman and ASEZA Chief Commissioner, Professor Kamel Mahadin, Regional Manager of APM Terminals Peder Sondergaard, Ghanem and Hansen. Other members from ACT management team, alongside representatives from the media, asked questions and were given detailed explanations on what the project entails and plans for the future.
"This expansion boosts a wide range of business aspects in Aqaba. From its core business of industry, to imports for the entire region. We are thrilled about this development for ourselves and our partners," Commissioner Mahadin said.
"Aqaba and ASEZA are now firmly on the map and have a clear brand identity," Mahadin said.
The expansion will usher in more cost savings through higher productivity and port capacity, along with faster trade, strengthening the city's position as a friendly investment hub for the region at large. Hansen further pointed out the development is expected to increase the terminal's annual capacity to a projected 1.5 million TEUs, and that it will bolster the terminal's throughput capacity. Danish-born, Aqaba-immigrated Hansen has always been certain that the Red Sea port city would land firmly on the map as a shipping hub, standing above the rest.
"Our business has doubled since 2006 and every year the how-tos of daily business dealings and interface with local authorities get easier and easier," Hansen says.
"Shipping in containers is safe and generally cheaper. For the areas we cover, it is an excellent choice for cargo of all kinds," he says.
The terminal is situated on the northern shores of the Gulf Of Aqaba, in the southern end of Jordan and has adequate facilities to accommodate vessels up to 540 meters long.
ACT is one of the key stakeholders in the burgeoning autonomous area poised to bloom as a business hub and superchic resort that gracefully combines Med charm and Oriental elegance.