Free zone plans take shape

29 October 2004
Sydney-based Pacific Controls Systems is the latest company to sign a land lease agreement with Techno Park, a project developed by Dubai's Ports, Customs & Free Zone Corporation (PCFC) and located next to Jebel Ali free zone. Under the agreement, Pacific Controls System, which focuses on facilities management, will set up its regional headquarters with research, development and manufacturing capabilities.

The agreement is one of 45 already signed between Techno Park and local and international companies. Among the companies to have already signed up are Al-Shahba Industriesand Metito, both local, Oman's Technobuild Holzfabrik,Qatar's Techno Lubeand US-based International Desalination Association (IDA).

One of the largest contracts signed so far is with Jeddah-based Mattex International. The deal will see Mattex invest a total of up to AED 400 million ($109 million) in setting up two manufacturing plants at Techno Park for the production of carpet backing materials.

Designed to attract foreign direct investment in research into the energy and power sectors, Techno Park will be developed in seven phases. Eighty per cent of phase one has already been taken up.

Bids are under evaluation for the second phase, which includes construction of Techno Park's headquarters and a labour camp. At least eight companies are competing for the estimated AED 100 million ($27 million) contract, which is due to be completed by late 2005. Tenders for phases three and four are due out by the end of November with development of the land scheduled to begin in January 2005. Awards for phases five and six are expected by mid-2005.

Structured around three technology clusters - desalination and water treatment, oil and gas and environmental industries - the development is expected to take five years to complete. Canada's Cansultis the consultant (MEED 23:1:04).

Elsewhere, Dubai Technology, e-commerce & Free Zone Authority (Tecom)is planning to invite at least eight companies to bid by late November for the main infrastructure package for the International Media Production Zone (IMPZ). The scheme, which focuses on the printing industry, will provide facilities for the production of compact discs (CDs) and related components for media equipment. The zone, which covers 38 million square feet and is located behind Dubai's Emirates Hills development, will also include residential complexes, a hotel and entertainment facilities.

IMPZ is providing an initial investment of AED 800 million ($216 million) with total investment expected to reach $14,000 million. The local Dewan al-Emara Architects & Engineersis consultant for 2,000 residential buildings. The UK's Halcrowcarried out the masterplan and is acting as engineering consultant for the project (MEED 1:8:03).

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