Jebel Ali Free Zone (Jafza), the flagship free zone operation of Dubai and the UAE has posted over 21% growth in the number of new joiners in the first half of 2014 compared with the number of new companies during the same period last year. 363 new multi-nationals have chosen the Free Zone as their regional base in the first six months. Quite a few of these new joiners are Global Fortune 500 companies.
More than 50% of these new companies come from the Asia Pacific led by India and China while 10% from Americas and the UK, which reinforces the strategic importance of Jafza as the hub to serve the thriving Middle Eastern markets.
Ibrahim Mohammed Al Janahi, Deputy CEO of Jafza and Chief Commercial Officer of Economic Zones World (EZW), parent company of Jebel Ali Free Zone, commenting on the robust growth of the Free Zone, said, “The large number of high profile multinationals that we have attracted in the first half reinforces Jafza’s invincible status as the gateway to the Middle East and a key driver to attracting foreign direct investment into Dubai and the country. Jafza accounts for almost 40% of FDI into the Emirate and 20% into the UAE. The leading sectors that attracted new companies into the Free Zone include Machinery and Equipment, IT & Electronics, Building Material and Foodstuff.”
Jafza remains one of the key drivers of Dubai and the UAE’s non-oil economic development. The Free Zone accounts for more than a half of Dubai’s exports and a quarter of its total non-oil trade. Jafza, according to a PwC report, contributes more than 21% to the GDP of Dubai.
Al Janahi further said, “Dubai’s right to host World Expo 2020 provides further push to the continuously growing trade and commerce in the UAE and the region. As a facilitator we have launched a number of important initiatives such as Matajircom and Halal Zone that follow and support the government’s strategy to fulfil the vision of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai to make Dubai the most dynamic economy in the world.”
During the first half of the year Jafza has announced two important initiatives viz. Matajircom and Halal Zone that will have a strong impact on the UAE and the entire Middle East.
Matajircom initiative is the first retail hub in the Middle East which is exclusively designed to take advantage of the explosive growth in e-commerce sector.
Halal Zone on the other hand is an initiative under which EZW announced the plan to develop two world-class Halal Zones, one in Jafza and another in TechnoPark, specifically designed to cater to the regional and international Halal Product markets. The move seeks to support Dubai assume the status of the capital of the world’s Islamic Economy as well as ‘the global hub for Halal products’.
Jafza is one of the most diverse free zones in the world. It is currently home to 7,500 world’s finest companies. 17% of these companies are in IT and Electronics, 15% in construction Material, 12% in Chemical and Petroleum Products, 12% in Machinery & Equipment, 10% in Food and Healthcare, 9% in Automotive and 5% in Logistics sector.
Jafza continues to build on its customer driven initiatives and successes to attract more and more companies from across the world into the Free Zone.
During the first half of the year Jafza has carried out extensive roadshows in Asia (Malaysia, Indonesia, China and Taiwan) and Latin America (Brazil and Argentina), where Jafza also participated in leading business seminars and exhibitions such as MIHAS 2014, a world’s leading show for Halal products in Malaysia.
To support its ongoing growth Jafza continues to invest in upgrading existing infrastructure. Jafza has, in the first half of this year, completed its Gate 4 project under which it has expanded its five lane road to 16-track, 8-lane entry and 8-lane exit, to facilitate smooth passage. The Gate is meant for passenger cars. Under this project it has replaced the Roundabout 6 with a flyover that now facilitates seamless traffic flow direct from the container terminal to Jafza customers and major exit gates. The flyover serves both passenger, as well as, freight movement. The internal road network facilitates connections to other parts of the Free Zone, which were being served by Roundabout 6.
In order to provide more efficient services to clients, Jafza opened new Jafza Service Center, in Jafza South, which offers services such as EIDA for Emirates ID, Fitness centre from DHA for the residence visa, all under one roof.
In the first half the Free Zone has launched several other facilities and infrastructure projects including the development of a multi-million light industrial facility (LIU-11) and road development and access gate projects in Jafza South.
In collaboration with NASDAQ Dubai, Jafza, earlier this year, created a new business framework and platform that facilitates Jafza-registered companies to raise capital through equity market by listing on NASDAQ Dubai, to fund their growth.
In line with the strategy of the UAE green economy, and integrated strategy for Dubai 2030 EZW signed an MoU with Etihad Energy Service Company (Etihad ESCO) ?to initiate energy efficiency projects in Jafza’s commercial, residential and industrial facilities.
In May Imdaad signed a landmark long-term waste management agreement with Economic Zones World to build Dhs100m, 60,000 square metre, material recovery facility in TechnoPark.
Globally, Jafza signed two MoUs in Brazil; first with Arab Brazilian Chamber, the second with Foreign Trade Chambers Federation, the aim of the MoUs were to attract more foreign investments to the free zone as well as help Brazilian companies to take advantage of the emerging opportunities in the region through Jafza, which is an acknowledged hub to reach and serve the region efficiently.
Strategic Customer Forums
As a part of Jafza’s commitment to support customers in achieving their growth aspirations it has conducted two industry specific strategic forums covering logistics and electronics & IT sectors in which various growth opportunities for Jafza companies in related sectors were discussed. The forums are structured to provide a platform to the industry players and industry enablers to exchange knowledge and ideas to enhance their respective capabilities and making the operating environment within Jafza even more conducive for the businesses to grow.
The new companies include a large number of leading market leaders such as Jaguar and Land Rover, ACE, China National Petroleum Corporation, DOW, Novartis, Borosil, Majal, Imex Shipping, AAA Freight & Logistics, TRI Star Transport and Technicorp among others.