The signing ceremony took place in Aqaba in Jordan in the presence of H.E. Nasser Shraideh, Minister of Planning and International Cooperation, representing H.E. Dr. Bisher Al Khasawneh, Prime Minister of Jordan;H.E. Ahmed Ali Mohammed Al Baloushi, UAE Ambassador to the kingdom; H.E. Dr. Mohamad Al-Ississ, Minister of Finance; H.E. Eng. Khairy Amr, Minister of Investment;and H.E. Dr. Nawaf Tall, Minister of State for Follow-up and Government Coordination; and H.E Eng. Nayef Ahmad Bakheet, Chief Commissioner, Aqaba Special Economic Zone Authority, Chairman of Aqaba Development Corporation, along with a number of officials from both sides.
The four strategic agreements and a Head of Terms Agreement were signed by Hussein Ali Alsafadi, CEO, Aqaba Development Corporation and Captain Mohamed Juma Al Shamisi, Group CEO, AD Ports Group.
The strategic partnerships concern the development of Marsa Zayed, a cruise terminal, and the development of an advanced digital Port Community System, in addition to Head of Terms agreements to explore the development and modernisation of a multipurpose port and King Hussein International Airport.
Marsa Zayed Land Agreement
The agreement is in relation to the development of a land area of 1.2 million sqm in phase 1 of the development of the 3.2 million Marsa Zayed area by AD Ports Group, which will include a cruise terminal, tourism, leisure, residential and other projects. The development is planned to position Aqaba as a major Red Sea destination of choice.
Cruise Terminal Agreement
Under this Agreement, which builds upon a Head of Terms Agreement announced earlier in the year, AD Ports Group will develop, manage and operate a new cruise terminal in Aqaba, which will serve as a gateway for passengers visiting the Red Sea.
Maqta Ayla, New Joint Venture
Maqta Gateway, the digital arm of AD Ports Group, has signed a joint venture Agreement with Aqaba Development Corporation establishing “Maqta Ayla” to develop and operate an advanced Ports Community System (PCS). The system will oversee the communication between the Port of Aqaba and terminal operators, as well as the Aqaba Special Economic Zone Authority (ASEZA), Aqaba Development Corporation, Jordan Maritime Commission and other stakeholders within the Port’s ecosystem. The system is expected to complete around two million digital transactions per year, generate considerable cost and time savings for stakeholders and customers, reduce CO2 emissions and streamline services.
HoT on the Development and Modernisation of a Multi-Purpose Port
The HoT sees the Aqaba Development Corporation and AD Ports Group cooperating on exploring the development and modernisation of a multi-purpose port with world-class facilities including Ro-Ro, general cargo, grain and livestock handling.
Development of King Hussein International Airport Agereeent
The Agreement will see AD Ports Group collaborate with Aqaba Development Corporation on the development of King Hussein International Airport – Aqaba, to enable increasing volumes of international and domestic tourism, ensuring a seamless journey for passengers moving between the airport and the Aqaba Cruise Terminal, while enhancing air logistics and expanding Aqaba’s air network connectivity.
H.E Eng. Nayef Ahmad Bakheet, Chief Commissioner, Aqaba Special Economic Zone Authority, Chairman of Aqaba Development Corporation said:“We have found a key partner in AD Ports Group, which has the vision, expertise and track record necessary to develop world-class port and cruise and digital infrastructure.
“The agreements and HoT on the development of Marsa Zayed and a cruise terminal, exploring the modernisation of a multipurpose port, the development of King Hussein International Airport, and the establishment of “Maqta Ayla” for digital systems, represent a significant addition to our efforts that aim to develop Aqaba region, and enable rising volumes of visitors to come and experience the Golden Triangle of Jordan, with our unique tourism offerings of Wadi Rum, Aqaba and the ancient city of Petra.”
Captain Mohamed Juma Al Shamisi, Group CEO, AD Ports Group, said: “This strategic alliance will boost the wider efforts of the leadership of Abu Dhabi to drive trade and tourism with our neighbours in the region, and to develop world-class infrastructure to expand global reach.
“Collectively, these mega-projects represent one of the most significant integrated transport, logistics and tourism development programmes announced in the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan in recent years.
“Working with our partners in the Aqaba Development Corporation, these ambitious projects will significantly expand the facilities available to travellers and businesses via sea, land and air. This in turn will help grow the trade and tourism sectors, while strengthening Aqaba’s status as a major regional hub and support the kingdom’s economic development plans.”
Hussein Alsafadi, CEO, Aqaba Development Corporationstressed the importance of this collaboration and strategic partnership which will help in creating investment and job opportunities, as well as foster the role of Aqaba as a key regional hub in trade, logistics, and maritime and air transportation.
Abdulla Al Hameli, Head of Industrial Cities & Free Zone Cluster, AD Ports Group said, “We are excited to partner with the Aqaba Special Economic Zone Authority for the development of a land area of 1.2 million sqm comprising real estate development projects, tourist residential complexes, hotels, chalets, commercial centres and theme parks. This significant project contributes towards positioning Aqaba as a major tourism and business destination in the region.”
Saif Al Mazrouei, Head of Ports Cluster, AD Ports Group, said: “We are delighted to be able to play our part in the development of the Port of Aqaba and the new cruise terminal, drawing on our expertise in the cruise sector and our experience in providing advanced services across the supply chain.
“We are confident that this cooperation will prove beneficial for both sides, as it combines Aqaba’s significant growth potential as a cruise destination and a regional hub on the Red Sea with AD Ports Group’s leadership in providing advanced services and infrastructure for cruise passengers and cargo ships.”
Dr. Noura Al Dhaheri, CEO of Maqta Gateway, Head of the Digital Cluster- AD Ports Group, said: “As a result of these partnership agreements, Aqaba’s cruise, logistics and shipping sectors will have to access a broad range of innovative technologies that support optimised services across land, sea and air. Digitalisation will introduce important efficiencies and eliminate risks from the supply chain, with a fully integrated platform that delivers the best possible customer experience.”
Eng. Mohammad Al-Sakran, Executive Director, Transport & Logistics, Aqaba Development Corporation, noted: “This strategic partnership will promote Aqaba as a major player in the region’s supply chain. The digital transformation resulting from this partnership will also create a new ecosystem that will enhance the resilience of the maritime sector in Aqaba”.