King Abdullah visits Aqaba Container Terminal
Monarch briefed on future work of ASEZA25 October, 15:05
Prime Minister Abdullah Ensour said he will implement the king's directives by holding several meetings, bringing together ministers, officials and representatives of the local community in Aqaba to become acquainted with their problems and prepare suitable solutions.
ASEZA Chief Commissioner Kamel Mahadin highlighted the authority's future work plan, which comprises improving the infrastructure to serve tourism and investment projects, as well as reviewing the law regulating the work for this. According to Mahadin, the investment volume at the Aqaba International Industrial Estate has so far exceeded $180 million and generated 900 jobs.
During a visit to ADC offices, the king met with a number of Arab and foreign investors and stressed the need to provide the necessary facilities to attract investors to Aqaba.
The advisory board he called for will include representatives of the public and private sectors, who will address challenges facing investors and prepare joint strategies to enhance Aqaba's investment environment.
Jordan is among the leading countries in establishing development zones, the king said, highlighting China's experience in this field.
He added that the government and concerned parties are, therefore, required to work to ensure that the development zones fulfil the desired goals.
"Our ambition in Jordan is to provide job opportunities and improve citizens' living conditions," the monarch noted.
For his part, Ensour said the government is working to implement the royal directives and provide an investor-friendly environment to help develop Aqaba and support its local community.
ADC CEO Ghassan Ghanem briefed the king on the company's main investments and their role in supporting the private sector to provide a suitable investment environment.
The investors said they believed in the economic feasibility of investing in Jordan, stressing the need to provide more incentives to attract projects that will help develop the city further.
They called for improvements to the King Hussein International Airport and the easing of customs procedures.
In remarks to the Jordan News Agency, Petra, Al Maabar Managing Director Yousef Al Nowais commended on Aqaba's economic "renaissance", adding that the company is seeking to expand its projects in Aqaba and Amman.
The ADC was launched in 2004 "with the objective of unlocking the potential of the Aqaba Special Economic Zone (ASEZ) by accelerating its economic growth and development", according to its website. The ADC owns Aqaba's seaport, airport and strategic parcels of land, as well as the development and management rights for these assets.
It is mandated to develop through building new or expanding existing infrastructure.
Jordan has been upgrading its infrastructure through projects involving the public and private sectors, under which the State retains land and infrastructure ownership, while the private sector undertakes the responsibilities of financing, construction, and development and operational activities. Projects implemented in line with this approach over the past years included the expansion to the Queen Alia International Airport, the Disi Water Conveyance Project, the new terminals in Aqaba and electricity-generation projects.
The expanded container terminal, which the king inaugurated on Thursday, has seen the berth extended to 1,000 metres from 540 metres and the anchorage upgraded to accommodate three huge ships at the same time. This will provide accelerated logistic services to investors.
After the expansion, the terminal, which deals with 20 major international shipping lines, will be able to handle 1.5 million containers and further expansion is planned in three to five years to raise the handling capacity to 2.2 million containers.
In 2003, the ADC, on behalf of ASEZA, went into partnership to improve the efficiency, capacity and the operational performance of the container terminal in Aqaba.
After signing a Terminal Management Contract with ADC in 2004, APM Terminals (part of the global A.P. Moller-Maersk Group) took over the management and operation of the terminal.
The new phosphate terminal has been set up at a cost of $240 million with a storage capacity of 240,000 tonnes. Built on a 'build, operate and transfer' basis, the terminal's handling capacity is expected to reach six million tonnes annually. It features a 200-metre berth and can accommodate ships of various sizes, from 5,000 to 100,000-tonne shipments.