Abu Dhabi Ports signed a 30 year agreement with MSC Mediterranean Shipping Company to establish a new container terminal in the UAE located at Khalifa Port. The new terminal will benefit from Khalifa Port’s advantages as one of the regions most technologically-advanced ports, further showcasing Abu Dhabi’s importance in the maritime sector and in container handling regionally and globally. Dr. Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, UAE Minister of State and Chairman of Abu Dhabi Ports commented on the signings saying: “Under the leadership of His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the UAE, the UAE has made historic strides in both economic and social development, striving to be a leader in the maritime sector, positioning itself on the global economic and trade map". “These agreements cement the UAE and Abu Dhabi’s position as a global trading, shipping and logistics hub. This agreement will also promote economic growth and increased investment through the rise in container traffic. The UAE has been successful in implementing large infrastructure projects, and this has been due, to a large extent, to the presence of the world’s most technologically advanced ports, modern and integrated transportation networks, as well as its strategic location as a central hub between Asia, Europe and Africa – attracting emerging and developed markets with excellent prospects for growth,” His Excellency added. Diego Aponte, President and Chief Executive Officer of MSC, commented: “MSC is delighted to be part of the UAE’s maritime sector growth. The UAE has a rich history in international trade and after two decades of operating in the country, MSC is pleased to continue to support the growth of the local maritime economy. 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.” Captain Mohamed Juma Al Shamisi, Chief Executive Officer at Abu Dhabi Ports, said: “Khalifa Port plays a vital role in Abu Dhabi Ports’ strategy that aims to further enhance the capital and the UAE’s economic and trade positioning on a regional and global level. MSC will invest a total of AED four billion over the life of concession agreement in operational equipment.” Developments include an increase in the current 12 ship-to-shore cranes to make a total of 25 over the next two years. In addition, deepening the berths, making Khalifa Port the first port in the region capable of receiving the largest shipping vessels in the world that specialise in bulk cargo shipment. “Abu Dhabi Ports has successfully attracted two of the world largest companies in the field of shipping and container handling to develop a regional hub at Khalifa Port. Over the next five years, the capacity of two container terminals at Khalifa Port will increase to more than 8.5 million TEUs annually," Al Shamisi added MSC plans to gradually shift some of its container handling in the region to Khalifa Port, starting July 2018. This is set to increase Khalifa Port’s capacity from 2.5m TEUs in 2017 to 5.3m TEUs by 2020.