UAE: Ras Al Khaimah Maritime City Opens for Business
His Highness Sheikh Saud bin Saqr Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Ras Al Khaimah, on Monday launched the RAK Maritime City, RAK’s fifth port facility and the UAE’s newest maritime free zone, at a function held at the Al Hamra Convention Centre here.
The launch event also had the presence of Sheikh Mohammed bin Saud bin Saqr Al Qasimi, Crown Prince of Ras Al Khaimah, and several other sheikhs, members of the diplomatic corps, business leaders and senior officials.
Set up with an investment of Dh520 million and spread over an area of 800 hectares (8 million sq metres), the new maritime industrial park boasts a new dedicated harbour covering 820,000 square metres of water, and almost 5 km of new quay wall with private/exclusive use jetties. The harbour entrance approach depth is 9 metres and there is a depth of 7 metres available at all the new berths.
Operating both as a free zone with all the inherent business benefits and as a port complying with international standards, RAK Maritime City offers an excellent cost-efficient and secure option for companies and a high level of customer service. In addition it aims to provide a high quality industrial and maritime complex, superior logistics and industrial infrastructure and high quality facilities.
The China Harbour Construction Company was commissioned in 2008 to develop the new maritime city and in December 2009, RAK Maritime City was established as a Free Zone (FZ) by Emiri Decree.
Addressing the assembled guests at the launch of RAK Maritime City, Sheikh Saud said: “I am delighted to be with you all today and to officially announce the launch of RAK Maritime City. Ras Al Khaimah has a rich and dynamic maritime heritage and the ports are a key determinant of our national identity as well as playing a central role in our trade activities. This new free zone facility not only represents a significant development in the investment of the internal free zone infrastructure of our emirate but also sends out strong messages to a much wider audience within the international maritime community that we are committed to providing high quality maritime infrastructure operating in accordance with international standards and best practice”.
Sheikh Saud added that Ras Al Khaimah has achieved real success across a range of indices like expansion of emirate’s economy, rise in productivity, creation of enabling infrastructure and progress in sectors like health and education. “Our GDP has almost doubled between 2005 and 2010 and our free zones and industrial zones have brought in excess of USD 7 billion in inward investments,” he added.
The construction of RAK Maritime City is a key component of the Ruler’s economic roadmap to build an advanced ports’ network in RAK. This will enable the emirate to develop and be acknowledged as an important shipping centre able to compete on the global stage as a major import/export and trans-shipment hub in the Gulf.
RAK Maritime City Free Zone is able to incorporate companies as both FZE and FZC entities and will issue industrial, commercial and general trading licenses along with work permits and UAE residence visas. The Free Zone estate is divided into two types of plots- plots with a linear quay length as part of their boundary with exclusive use of that quay and plots with no direct access to the water, located away from the harbour. There will also be office accommodation in the free zone for Customs, Immigration and the RAK Maritime City management team.
RAK Maritime City will also be zoned into areas for specified uses- retail, warehousing, general cargo handling, industrial production and manufacturing, tank storage and ship building/repairs. Plot sizes range from 25,000sqm upwards and those plots with an exclusive berth or jetty of 100 linear metres will necessitate a minimum leased area of approximately 40,000sqm. Lease agreements are being offered for 25 years with the option to renew for a further 25 years. Longer leases will also be considered for periods of up to 99 years.
Located adjacent to Saqr Port the largest bulk commodity port in the Middle East, and near to RAK International Airport, RAK Maritime City has excellent local access to the UAE’s road network and will be the railhead for the planned UAE national Etihad railway.
Captain Colin Crookshank, General Manager of RAK Maritime City said, “RAK Maritime City is a unique concept and I am very excited about what it brings not only to Ras Al Khamiah but also to the international maritime community. Certainly it serves to elevate Ras Al Khaimah to the position of a dominant global shipping centre of excellence operating within world-class standards. It also sets out the blueprint for the sustainability of the maritime industry in Ras Al Khaimah, and indeed the region, which after all is an inherent part of this emirate’s heritage and legacy“.
He continued: “RAK Maritime City will offer its customers and tenants much more than just export and import facilities. We will have on site state-of-the-art repair and ship maintenance facilities, retail, warehousing and general cargo handling zones as well as areas for tank storage, industrial production and manufacturing. Our objective is to be able to attract all industries connected with the maritime world and to offer them a long-term partnership in a dynamic and growing business environment.” There are currently three international anchor tenants operating within Maritime City – German gypsum board manufacturer Knauf, Malaysian barge and tug operator Shin Yang and the Greek construction company Archirodon.
During 2009/2010, the Government of RAK consolidated all of Ras Al Khaimah’s ports under the one umbrella structure of RAK Ports which is managed by Saqr Port Authority. This action has not only served to increase efficiency and cooperation between the ports but has also helped to facilitate and enhance the emirate’s offering of a world-class, advanced business infrastructure. Under this new structure each port specialises in a shipping or transport niche.
Source: emirates247, May 17, 2011.