Khalifa Port

a groundbreaking project

Khalifa PortKhalifa Port and Kizad combine to make the Emirate’s largest infrastructure project. When completed by 2030, the megaproject will become one of the world’s largest industrial areas, with one of the biggest ports.

Khalifa Port is designed to handle the world’s largest ships and will be the first port in the region offering integrated rail facilities.

The world class design and construction is complemented by the impressive innovative transport links provided – both on and off site – making it  an attractive proposition to those seeking a manufacturing or logistics hub with speedy access to their customer base.

The total size of Kizad Zones A and B, including Khalifa Port, equals a massive 420 sq kms in size: four times bigger than Abu Dhabi Island, 2/3 the size of Singapore and one quarter the size of Greater London.

AN OFFSHORE ISLAND of 2.7 sq kms – or the size of 340 footbal pitches

The cost of Khalifa Port Phase 1 and Kizad Zone A alone totals USD 7.2 billion. When completed, it is estimated that more than 150,000 jobs, with an emphasis on high-tech jobs and skills development for the local population, will be provided.  The port will handle bulk liquids, dry bulk, Ro-Ro (roll-on, roll-off) and general cargo in addition to TEU containers.

Khalifa Port Map

Khalifa Port IllustrationWhen the container traffic, currently handled at Mina Zayed,  transfers to Khalifa Port in Q4 2012, it will initially handle 2.5 million TEU containers and 12 million tons of cargo capacity –  including bulk/break cargo. This is three times as many containers handled by Mina Zayed in 2011 and is forecasted to increase  annually to reach up to 15 million TEU containers, and 35 million tons of cargo, by 2030.

The capacity for reefers – up to 2400 – at Khalifa Port has been dramatically expanded from what had been provided at Mina  Zyed.  The EMAL site features the biggest one-site greenfield aluminium smelter in the world, which opened in December 2009. Less than a year later EMAL’s historic first cargo shipload arrived at its dedicated berth, capable of handling 4 million tons annually of shipped cargo.

Khalifa Port has a quay length of 3.2 kilometres with a 16 metre draft and a future draft of 18 metres at the quay wall. The two-year dredging contract cost USD 1.5 billion and the combined dredged and reclaimed materials totalled 45 million cubic metres.


Flexible master plan for development, Khalifa Port is being developed in stages, aiming to be one of the world’s largest ports by 2030.
• 60 kms from downtown Abu Dhabi
• 85 kms from downtown Dubai
• 45 kms from Jebel Ali Free Zone Authority (JAFZA)
• Port island built 4.6 kms offshore: total area 2.7 sq kms
• Onshore terminal facility: total area 6.4 sq kms
• Channel: 12kms long x 250 metres wide with 16.5 metres draft
• Principal quay wall: 4 kms long
• Quay length: 3.2kms
• Port basin: 800 metres x 3.6 kms
• Draft: 18 metres alongside quay, to accommodate the largest ships
• Latest equipment/VTS/ new tugs and safety measures all being introduced
• Extensive warehousing and cold storage facilities available: up to 2,040 reefers
Initial Capacity:
• 2.5 million TEU containers
• 12 million tons of general cargo
• Designed to handle the world’s largest ships at sea
Projected capacity:
2030 capacity expected to be 15 million TEU containers and 35 million tons of cargo annually
• First port in region with semi-automated port facilities
• First port in region with integrated rail facilities
• Commenced shipments of alumina for EMAL’s aluminium smelter in Q4 2010
• Bulk Liquids (oil fuel, vegetable oil and petrochemical solvents)
• Dry bulk (including alumina, cement and grain)
• Containers
• Ro-Ro
• General cargo
• 6 Super post-Panamax ship to shore container cranes
• 20 diesel electric straddle carriers
• 30 automated stacking cranes

Master planning of the port was performed by Halcrow and Moffatt and Nichol Engineering. It has been designed to be constructed in phases over  20 years incorporating an offshore port island of 2.7 sq kms – or the size of 340 football pitches – and an onshore facility of 6.4 sq kms with  capability of expanding berthing facilities for future demand.

Khalifa Port is approached by a 12 kilometre long channel, 250 metres wide and with a 16.5 metre draft. The port basin measures  800m x 3.6kms.

The offshore terminal quay – or port island – has been built 4.6 kms out to sea with the UAE’s longest of two causeway bridges to the island measuring 1 kilometre long and allowing the sea current to flow naturally along the coastline. The project also involved raising the ground level across 20 sq kms by 2 metres, the height of a man.

An award winning 8 kilometre long environmental protection breakwater, costing USD 240 million, was constructed to conserve the Ras Ghanada Reef – the Arabian Gulf’s largest coral reef that supports flourishing marine life including turtles, dolphins, sea snakes, clownfish etc.

Cranes, with a value of USD 192 million, have been installed to ensure swift ship to shore turnaround. They include six Super Post-Panamax ship to shore container cranes (manufactured by ZPMC); 20 diesel electric straddle carriers (Terex-Noell) and 30 automatic stacking cranes (Konecranes – also responsible for delivering the terminal operating system).

It has been the job of programme management consultants International Bechtel Company Limited to ensure that everything was delivered on target dates, to budget and meeting stringent quality and environmental standards, testing everything to the minutest detail to ensure that all the systems meshed and worked 100% prior to the opening of Khalifa Port.

This included everything from pipelines to CCTV, the buoys in the approach channel and 120 buildings from warehouses to fire stations, the harbour master’s office and two radar towers.

To ensure that all works were delivered on target and to budget, ADPC’s CEO, Tony Douglas, championed the disciplined, internal, 100 Step Plan that detailed100 smart milestones, interspersed sprints.

Navis – a part of the US based Cargotec Corporation and the global standard for managing the movement of cargo through terminals – was chosen by ADPC to facilitate automated operations at Khalifa Port.

The SPARCS N4 system supports the management and optimisation of the vessel, yard and gate operations at the semi-automated Container Terminal.

The solutions will allow Khalifa Port to integrate with Kizad and its customer base.

An award winNing 8 kmS long environmental protection breakwater was constructed to HELP conserve the Ras Ghanada Reef


Initially, the port will be able to handle 2.5 million TEU containers annually when container traffic from the existing port Facility in Mina Zayed is transferred.

“We chose Navis because of its proven track record of innovation in the industry,” said Bob Post, Senior Project Manager, ADPC. “Being successful means partnering with a proven solutions provider for our mission: critical technology, equipment and systems, working with Navis allows us better management of container shipments as we continue to expand and grow.”

Because Khalifa Port will initially be configured for semi-automated operation using Automated Stacking Cranes (ASC) and Manually operated straddle carriers, the SPARCS N4 system will also include the Navis ASC Manager.

ASC Manager allows terminal operators to manage advances in unmanned container equipment. It is a centralised container management and container monitoring solution system that provides optimised despatching and management of automated stacking cranes that are paired with manned equipment.

The system is designed to manage and optimise the stacking of containers in each ASC stack and will target reduction in fuel Emissions for environmentally friendly operations.

Khalifa Port

Project Management Consultant for the Khalifa Port and Khalifa Industrial Zone Abu Dhabi (Kizad) is International Bechtel Company Ltd – an organisation that has been involved with more than 80 port and marine projects throughout the world since its foundation in 1898.
As an industry leader in delivering large, complex infrastructure and transportation projects on time and to budget, Bechtel provides the full complement of portrelated services from master planning to engineering and project implementation for standalone ports and those that are part of national transportation hubs, industrial zones and cities.

Of the 28 port and marine projects in the past decade with which Bechtel has been involved, the most recent include the Khalifa Port and Kizad, and the expansion of the Jubail port and industrial zone in Saudi Arabia.

Bechtel has worked with Abu Dhabi Ports Company since 2006 to help it realise its ambition of creating a world-class port and industrial zone. The result of this is the creation of Kizad, an industrial development of unprecedented scale, ambition and vision, and Khalifa Port, the 9.1 sq kms development including the 2.7 sq kms reclaimed offshore island that has the capacity to handle 2.5m TEU annually.

Bechtel has been working in the United Arab Emirates for 50 years, and was proud to be Platinum Sponsor of the second World Ports and Trade  Summit held in 2012. Bechtel celebrates the role that the industry is playing in fuelling the economic growth of the UAE.