Abu Dhabi Ports Company’s (ADPC) $50m Shahama port upgrade and development project in the Al-Gharbia (formerly the Western Region) area of Abu Dhabi has been put on hold for budgetary reasons.

The tender, originally set to be awarded by the first quarter of 2014, has been delayed until May, says a source close to the project. The UK’s Halcrow completed preliminary designs for the client in 2013.

The scope of work covers the construction of commercial, leisure and tourism infrastructure. It includes building 100 berths to hold 500 boats up to 17 metres long, as well as the construction of a marina club house, restaurants and a car park.

The project is part of a wider initiative by ADPC to renovate all existing ports in the Western region with the aim of improving fishing harbours, commercial shipping terminals and tourist facilities. The Western ports include Shahama Port, Khalifa port, Mirfa port, Mugharrag port and Sir Bani Yas port.

Al-Gharbia is geographically spread out, but with a low population density. In the past few years, there has been increasing focus on improving the region’s infrastructure including its road connections between major cities and the ports. The development of the Western region will support the diversification of Abu Dhabi’s economy away from oil-related industries.