Jebel Ali Free Zone (Jafza), the flagship free zone entity of Dubai and the trade and logistics hub for the wider Middle East region, has achieved strong performance in terms of the quality of investments and the number of new companies registered in 2015.
Sultan Ahmed bin Sulayem, Chairman and CEO of DP World and Chairman of Ports, Customs and Free Zone Corporation, said: "Jafza continues to attract foreign investment and capital due to our persistent efforts in providing our customers with an integrated work environment and infrastructure ensuring manufacturing, packaging, warehousing and logistical efficiency. In 2015, the total number of companies increased by 8 per cent on annual basis between 2011 and 2015."
Bin Sulayem emphasised that these figures reiterated Jafza’s strategy and vision in playing a lead role in the post-oil future, and in implementing the vision of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates and Ruler of Dubai to diversify the Emirate’s economy and develop Jafza as an attractive foreign investment zone and a centre for regional trade.
He added that, the foreign investment in key economic sectors within Jafza was simultaneously driving other sectors, adding value to the local economy.
He attributed this growth to operational efficiency and the world-class infrastructure provided to customers in the Free Zone; thus attracting new companies to set up at Jafza and existing companies expanding their facilities. This has resulted in an inclined graph with regards to the high occupancy rate at facilities of various kinds as well as the launch of several products and innovative initiatives for customers.
He asserted that Jafza’s focus on logistics and industrial activities import and re-export of goods and consumer goods played a key role in supporting and promoting economic development in Dubai.
Bin Sulayem revealed that in 2015, Jafza registered new companies of which, Middle East region investors stood at 44 per cent, followed by Asia-Pacific with 23 per cent, Europe by 21 per cent, the Americas and Africa, with 6 per cent each. Of the countries setting up businesses at Jafza, UAE stood at 35 per cent, followed by India and UK at 9 per cent and 6 per cent, respectively.
In 2015, Jafza welcomed some of the world renowned corporations including Goodrich Middle East, Royal International Gulf Trading, Xylem Manufacturing, Tubo FZE, Harit General Trading, BM Johansson & Sons, Top Link International, Flow Link Shipping & Logistics and MWH General Trading.
For facilities, 312,000 square metres of plot of land were leased to new companies, followed by 265,000 square metres of warehouse/light industrial units and 28,000 square metres of office space.
In terms of new companies, Jafza witnessed a 12 per cent growth in sectors such as Equipment & Machinery, Electronics, Steel & Building Materials, followed by Chemical Products & Petroleum sector at 10 per cent while Food, Cars & Transport stood at 9 per cent each, Healthcare & Medical Products at 5 per cent and Services & Logistics at 4 per cent.
The number of commercial and administrative transactions increased by 5 per cent on annual basis between 2011 to 2015 to reach 938,000 transactions last year. Administrative transactions including General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs-Dubai, card services and medical services touched 871,000. Commercial services that ranged close to 67,000 transactions varied between licensing and leasing, registration and renewal of licenses and leases.
The workforce in the Free Zone, both sponsored and non-sponsored was 144,000 at the end of 2015, an 8.5 per cent rise over the past five years.
The increased employment is attributed to the new companies established in Jafza in addition to other expansions and the new production lines undertaken by commercial, industrial and other companies to serve the fast-growing markets in the Middle East and Africa region.