1: Jebel Ali port

DP Worldis continuing to expand its flagship Jebel Ali port. In December last year, it awarded Bam International of the Netherlands the estimated AED370m ($100m) contract to design and build the causeway, bridge and quay wall serving the future Terminal 4. Work is ongoing on a new Terminal 3, for which a joint venture of Japan’s Toa and France’s Soletanche Bachy secured a contract in 2012. That terminal will add 4 million 20-foot equivalent units of capacity to the port when it is completed this year. An extension to Terminal 2 was completed last year.

2: Sheikh Zayed Road

Dubai’s Roads & Transport Authority (RTA) is planning to add a double-deck, or elevated section, to Sheikh Zayed Road. The raised highway will run from the Dubai creek area and Sheikh Rashid Road all the way through to Jebel Ali port – a distance of up to 35 kilometres. Still at the feasibility study stage, it is understood the elevated roadway will be for long-distance traffic travelling across the emirate and the number of entry and exit ramps will be limited. It could be delivered using private finance if tolls are charged for using the road.

3: Jumeirah and Al-Wasl Roads

The RTA is planning to introduce a one-way system to ease traffic on both Al-Wasl and Jumeirah Beach Road. This will also allow for a new tram line running along Jumeirah Beach Road. The one-way system will mean there will be four lanes of traffic on Al-Wasl Road heading southwards towards Umm Suqeim Road, while on Jumeirah Beach Road there will be four or five lanes heading north towards 2 December Road, formally known as Al-Dhiyafa Street.

4: Creek extension

The Dubai Water Canal will require a major overhaul of Sheikh Zayed Road. In October last year, Turkey’s Gunal was awarded a contract that involves building a 16-lane bridge to take traffic on Sheikh Zayed Road across the Dubai creek extension, which will carry water from the Business Bay area to the Gulf. The project also requires new bridges to be built to take traffic on Al-Wasl and Jumeriah Beach Roads over the newly extended waterway.

5. Dubai International airport

Dubai International airport has been continually expanded for more than a decade. At present, contractors are building concourse D, which will connect to Terminal 1, constructing a major upgrade to Terminal 2 and upgrading the two runways. Over the past six years, capacity at the airport has increased to 70 million passengers a year.

6. Red and Green Line extensions

The RTA is planning to extend both the Red and Green Lines of the metro. The plans involve extending the Red Line beyond its current terminus at Rashidiya to Mirdif. The Green Line plans involve taking the route beyond Jadaf to International City, Silicon Oasis and Dubai Academic City. The two extensions could be connected to form a loop. The RTA is looking for financing options for both lines.

7. Etihad Rail

The national Etihad Rail network is planned for completion in 2018, running from Ghweifat in the south to Ras al-Khaimah in the north, and eventually connecting into the wider GCC rail network. Its primary purpose will be freight transportation, but passenger services are also planned. Its main link to other Dubai roads and transport routes will be at Jebel Ali.

8. Al-Maktoum International airport

Since its launch 10 years ago, the pace of development at Al-Maktoum International airport in the Jebel Ali area has been sporadic. It has already begun cargo and passengers services and further phases of the project will make it the largest airport in the world, with a capacity of 160 million passengers a year. Contractors are prequalifying for contracts at the airport, and a variety of funding options are being considered.

9. Expo Metro link

An extension to the Red Line of the Dubai Metro to serve the Expo site is being considered. There are two possible solutions: the first is a spur line from the Dubai Marina area that could also connect existing developments at Discovery Gardens, the Green Community and Dubai Investment Park; and the other option is for the Red Line to continue beyond its current terminus to the Expo site.

Chris Seymour, head of property and social infrastructure - UAE, EC Harris

Expo views: Christopher Seymour

Head of property and social infrastructure – UAE, EC Harris

Expo 2020 will be important not just to Dubai but also the UAE and the Middle East region as a whole. It will consolidate Dubai as a global trade hub and gateway to the Middle East. Being at the centre of activity for the event, Dubai will expand as a destination, which will have a positive effect on the real estate market, in particular hospitality, commercial office space, retail and logistics. The growth in these sectors will fuel end-user demand for residential assets, which will sustain the growth that we are already experiencing. Enhanced infrastructure and connectivity will also establish the UAE as one of the most sophisticated and busiest transportation hubs in the world.

There is renewed positivity in the market around the win and the incredible opportunities that it will create. The hospitality, retail, residential and infrastructure sectors are likely to see the most significant increases in demand across the emirate.

EC Harris is privileged to have been involved with many of the most complex and prestigious projects in the UAE over the past 15 years. We anticipate that the Expo will provide a robust pipeline of construction activity and be the catalyst that will challenge the industry for the next 15. Clients are more sophisticated than ever before and projects are becoming ever more complex as we seek to optimise value from assets in extremely challenging market conditions.

In this regard, we anticipate that our extensive experience and track record of delivering great projects for many of the leading development companies, investors, occupiers and government bodies in Dubai will position us well.

The long-term strategic plan for Dubai already includes the creation of the majority of the assets needed to host Expo 2020. What we expect to see is an acceleration of the vision. The planned Expo site is zoned as an international exhibition centre and this is one of the positive factors of the Expo bid, since it has a sustainable legacy and is aligned with long-term planning for the emirate. No doubt the guarantee of a global event in 2020 will provide the confidence investors seek relative to real estate transaction activity. This will likely take 12-18 months to gestate in practice and we expect to see significant activity in the market by 2015.

Simon Moon, CEO Middle East, Atkins

Expo views: Simon Moon

CEO Middle East for Atkins

There was huge confidence within the UAE before the announcement that Dubai’s Expo bid had been successful and this has now been justified. The win is a fantastic global endorsement and will mean the strong economic momentum that has been gathering pace for the past 12-18 months will continue, and even accelerate.

Atkins has a very strong track record in the UAE, spanning more than 30 years, so we really feel part of the country’s success story. Dubai is now in a new and exciting phase and it is fantastic to be here and involved in this re-emergence. I think we will all look back on the Expo 2020 success as a great milestone in that journey. 

Investment in the real estate market looks set to remain very buoyant. What we are seeing in Dubai is a real maturity in the way projects are planned and delivered, with a strong emphasis on creating liveable, enjoyable places with sustainable communities supported by a vibrant public realm.

For Atkins, this means great opportunities for our full breadth of capabilities.