The first phase of the Abu Dhabi Ports Company’s, or ADPC, flagship project Khalifa Port will be operational by the last quarter of 2012, Dr Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, chairman, ADPC, announced here on Monday. The new port will have a capacity of two million TEUs (twenty-foot equivalent unit) of container and 12 million tonnes of general cargo capacity. By 2030, Khalifa Port will have the capacity to handle 15 million TEUs and 35 million tonnes of general cargo. The three-day World Port and Trade Summit, which began yesterday here, was attended by decision makers and industry experts. Shaikh Hamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Chief of the Court of the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, opened the summit at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre. The summit is being organised under the patronage of General Shaikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces. Al Jaber said, the country is witnessing soaring growth in economic, trade, industrial and social growth. All of this is the result of good planning and foresight of our national leadership as we continue to build an advanced infrastructure that will contribute to the diversification of revenue sources, increased reliance on trade and increased capacities at ports. The event, running until April 4, includes an exhibition, high-level conference programme and networking. It is being held in association with Abu Dhabi Ports Company (ADPC). Speaking at the summit Sultan bin Saeed Al Mansouri, Minister of Economy, said, today, about 90 per cent of the world trade is conducted by the international shipping industry. The technology and efficiency improvements in the shipping sector and increased economic liberalisation continue to bolster the growth of the sector. It is estimated that in the past four decades, total seaborne trade recorded robust growth, increasing more than four times in volume. The global financial crisis of 2008, naturally, affected the industry too. This downtown, however, is an indicator of how the industry is directly linked to the functioning of the global economy. The shipping business in general now has to address growing piracy threats. There are regional concerns too, especially those relating to the potential closure of shipping routes. These concerns have international implications and must be addressed in the spirit of co-operation and dialogue. Al Mansouri said, the Arab world has a rich history in maritime trade. For example, maritime trade between the region and the Indian Subcontinent dates back even earlier than the 7th Century AD. Today, according to the World Shipping Council, two of the world’s top 50 container ports are in the UAE, with Dubai featuring among the top 10. The UAE is also among the top 20 exporters of liner goods by value, as well as in imports of containerised cargo. In the past few decades, ports in the UAE have recorded the highest share of volume in the GCC region, the minister asserted. Of the 35 ports in the GCC, Port Rashid, Port Zayed and Khalifa Port have accounted for nearly 59 per cent of the volume in the region, Al Mansouri said. The massive investment in port infrastructure in Abu Dhabi is an example of UAE’s commitment to further strengthen our competencies in ports and shipping. When the infrastructure for the first phase of the port is completed in the fourth quarter of this year, it will have an initial capacity to handle two million TEUs of container traffic and 12 million tonnes of general cargo annually, making it a strong destination port, he said. The UAE is taking its expertise in developing ports globally too; The London Gateway project by DP World is an example of how the country is extending its expertise in developing container ports globally.