Abu Dhabi Ports signed a 30-year concession agreement with the Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC) to pump $1bn (AED4bn) into a new container terminal at Khalifa Port.
MSC will invest $1bn in a three-decade deal to transform Abu Dhabi’s deepwater Khalifa Port into a regional hub for container handling.
Under the agreement, Khalifa Port’s 12 ship-to-shore cranes will be more than doubled to 25 in the next two years.
Shipping berths will be deepened to make Khalifa Port the first in the region capable of receiving the world’s largest shipping vessels that specialise in bulk cargo, according to the Emirates News Agency (WAM).
Capacity at two container terminals at Khalifa Port will increase to more than 8.5 million twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs), a measure used to explain cargo capacity of a ship or terminal.
The 30-year agreement was signed by the chief executive officers of Abu Dhabi Ports and MSC, Mohamed Juma Al Shamisi and Diego Aponte respectively.
UAE Minister of State, and chairman of Abu Dhabi Ports, Dr Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, witnessed the signing. He said the country had made "historic strides" to become a maritime leader.
"These agreements cement the UAE and Abu Dhabi’s position as a global trading, shipping and logistics hub," he said, adding: "This agreement will also promote economic growth and increased investment through the rise in container traffic."
MSC’s Aponte added: "We are confident that with this investment we will continue to ensure a high level of service for our customers and have the capacity to grow the scale of our operations in the UAE."
Al Shamisi said the $1bn investment from MSC would help Abu Dhabi Ports’ strategy to "enhance the capital and the UAE’s economic and trade positioning on a regional and global level".
Khalifa Port was inaugurated in 2012 and is located between Abu Dhabi and Dubai.
Earlier this year, Autoterminal and Abu Dhabi Ports signed an agreement to create a joint venture (JV) company called Autoterminal Khalifa Port to manage the car terminal in Khalifa Port under a 15-year agreement.