Dubai Holding plans to build the world’s largest wholesale hub next to Al-Maktoum International airport. The $8.2bn Dubai Wholesale City project will cover an area of 5.5 square kilometres and is expected to take 10 years to fully develop.

Dubai’s ruler, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum, approved plans for the project on 1 March, stating that the city will be home to more than 15,000 wholesale traders, creating a hub that will capitalise on global trade and e-commerce.

The UAE hopes the development will increase its share of the worldwide wholesale market, which is valued at $4.3 trillion and is expected to grow to $4.9 trillion in the next five years.The new scheme will also create the largest e-commerce platform for wholesale trade in the region.

Development of the areas surrounding Al-Makoum International is expected to accelerate over the next few years as construction work starts on the $33bn expansion of the airport. Contractors are preparing to submit bids for the enabling works in mid-March.