The biggest industrial zone in the region, Khalifa Industrial Zone Abu Dhabi (Kizad) was officially launched on 13 November.

Located at Taweelah, Kizad was previously known as Khalifa Port and Industrial Zone (KPIZ).

At 417 square-kilometres, Kizad will be the largest industrial zone in the region when it is complete. The first phase is scheduled to be complete in the fourth quarter of 2012, at the same time that the first phase of Khalifa port will be finished. The total cost of the first phase of both developments is $7.2bn.

By 2030, Kizad is expected to contribute 15 per cent of Abu Dhabi’s non-oil GDP. Between 60 and 80 per cent of all goods manufactured within Kizad will be exported.

The range of industries in Kizad includes petrochemicals, pharmaceuticals, food, aluminium, steel and engineered metals, glass and paper. Kizad has been granted Investment Zone status and as such it will offer selected investors 100 per cent foreign ownership.

“We have had significant expressions of early interest and … in the coming months we will be signing up tenants,” says Tony Douglas, chief executive of Abu Dhabi Ports Company (ADPC).

The port itself is being developed 4.5 kilometres offshore and is connected to the mainland by the longest bridge in the UAE. When complete, the first phase will handle two million containers a year and nine million tonnes of cargo – this is four times the number of containers the existing Mina Zayed handled in 2010. By 2030, Mina Khalifa will handle 15 million containers and 35 million tonnes of cargo a year.

ADPC has a partnership agreement with Union Railway to develop a railway in Kizad. The main branch of the UAE federal railway will spur off in two directions at Kizad, to zones A and B. The spur in Zone A will run all the way out to Khalifa port where freight and containers can be loaded directly onto trains.

Union Railway is currently carrying out the first phase of the railway (MEED 9:11:10). It  hopes to get connected to the port and Kizad as soon as possible and so it is likely that building links to Kizad will be the next stage.

Douglas also says that two or three contracts relating to electrical substations and port equipment are still due to be signed. ADPC is also planning to upgrade its existing ports.

“There are nine other regional ports in Abu Dhabi. We are actively looking at the masterplans at a number of those,” Douglas says.