Under the patronage of H.H. Sheikh Hamdan bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Ruler's Representative in the Western Region, Dr. Sultan bin Ahmed Sultan Al Jaber, Minister of State, and Chairman of Abu Dhabi Ports, officially inaugurated Al Mirfa Port in the Western Region of Abu Dhabi.
Abu Dhabi Ports, the master developer, operator and manager of ports and Khalifa Industrial Zone in the emirate, recently completed extensive redevelopment work at Al Mirfa Port, upgrading its infrastructure and facilities to better serve the community.
The extensive redevelopment work is part of Abu Dhabi Ports' commitment to diversify the emirate's economy by supporting and serving local communities. The infrastructural upgrade, newly established facilities and improved standards of services have now positioned Al Mirfa Port to become the first port dedicated to supporting the fishing industry and community in the emirate.
Praising the variety of services and the overall enhancements completed at Al Mirfa Port, Dr. Sultan Al Jaber highlighted that Al Mirfa Port is a significant landmark within the Western Region, currently witnessing extensive development activities as part of the comprehensive implementation of Abu Dhabi government's five year plan.
He said, "The development of the Western Region's ports is a strategic priority and in line with our leadership's directives of enhancing the region's economic resources. And on this occasion, we express our appreciation to Sheikh Hamdan bin Zayed Al Nahyan for his unwavering support towards the successful redevelopment of Al Mirfa Port. Our goal is to implement the master development plan which includes Al Mirfa Port, Mugharrag Port, Delma Port and Sir Bani Yas and we are confident that with the support of Abu Dhabi Ports' partners, these vital projects will play a key role in the development of the region and support the emirate's economic diversification efforts."
Abu Dhabi Ports is closely working with its strategic partners, namely Abu Dhabi Urban Planning Council, the Western Region Municipality, the Department of Transport and several other government entities to execute the master plan under the rules and regulations set by the Urban Planning Council, which include the Estidama (sustainability for Arabic) initiative.
The projects to further develop the ports of the Western Region will provide added support, and serve the local communities. These improvements will also play a key role in attracting domestic tourism, specifically to the beaches of the Western Region, further supporting the local economy by generating new income resources.
The redevelopment of Al Mirfa Port included rock revetment to protect the port berths, and the construction of a breakwater to guard the port's basin from the force of strong currents. Floating pontoons were also established creating new berths to accommodate 140 fishing boats and leisure ferries. The floating berths help fishermen to keep their boats in the water instead of pulling them on to shore after each trip. A specially designed floating berth allows the fishermen to unload the catch, and shaded areas inside the port facilitate the auctioning of fish.
Upgrading the facilities meant providing a new multi-purpose administration building, a modern restaurant, a shaded car park, as well as a dedicated fish market with a large number of retail units.
As for upgrading the services available, the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) will supply fuel to vessels from an offshore platform. ADNOC is also setting up a service centre, similar to its ADNOC Oasis convenient stores spread across the UAE. In addition, Abu Dhabi Ports constructed an ancillary power station to ensure electricity is continuously available at the port.
In order to encourage direct investments and help diversify the port's services, two plots have been allocated to attract maintenance companies as well as vessel spare-part suppliers. A third plot has also been set aside for small businesses, including an ice making plant that will cater to the fishermen and the community's overall needs.
Abu Dhabi Ports is managing and operating the ports of Delma, Mugharrag and Al Sila, in addition to Al Mirfa. The company has an investment plan for each port. Currently under design, Mugharrag Port will be undergoing comprehensive redevelopment and as for Delma Port, the infrastructure will be upgraded to include a ferry terminal and a marina with 160-boat capacity, improving the service offerings to the community, encouraging water sports and stimulating local and regional tourism.
Abu Dhabi Ports is also working in co-operation with the Tourism Development and Investment Authority (TDIC) to develop the Sir Bani Yas Island's beachfront to be ready in the third quarter of 2016. The island already received tourists and cruise passengers hosted by the temporary facilities provided by TDIC. The aim is to position the Arabian Gulf's first cruise beach stopover as an important eco-tourism destination, reinforcing Abu Dhabi's status as a destination of eclectic tourist attractions.