Abu Dhabi’s new Khalifa Port is looking to tap into the trans-shipment business as demand for its services grows.

According to Mohamed al-Shamisi, executive vice-president, ports, at Abu Dhabi Ports Company (ADPC), the new port in Taweelah is seeing increasing demand from larger ships and container vessels.

“Since Khalifa opened [in September last year], we have received many mainliners and bigger ships and we are eager to receive bigger-sized vessels,” says Shamisi. Previously, Mina Zayed Port received mainly feeder vessels.

ADPC is keen to capitalise on this growth and make use of the increased capacity Khalifa Port offers compared with Mina Zayed port, to carve out a share of the trans-shipment business.

“Mina Zayed only served the domestic market, but by having excess capacity at Khalifa Port and being able to better serve shipping lines, we are introducing this trans-shipment element,” he says.

Tapping into the growing trade flows in and out of Asia is part of this initiative. In early February, Abu Dhabi Terminals (ADT), the manager of Abu Dhabi’s four main commercial ports, signed an agreement with a consortium of shipping lines to start direct services between Khalifa Port and the Indian ports of Mundra and Nhava Sheve on the west coast of India.

Shipping lines Orient Express Lines, Simatech and X-Press Feeders will provide direct services between the ports, offering both trans-shipment customers and Abu Dhabi’s exporters and importers direct links to India.

Shamisi says such an agreement shows Khalifa Port is a ‘hub port’, capable of handling the increasingly large trans-shipment vessels.