Dubai /EMIRATES BUSINESS
Jebel Ali Free Zone (Jafza), the flagship freezone entity of Dubai and the trade and logistics hub for the wider Middle East region, has achieved strong performance in terms of the quality of investments and the number of new companies registered in 2015.
HE Sultan Ahmed bin Sulayem, Chairman and CEO of DP World and Chairman of Ports, Customs and Free Zone Corporation, said, “Jafza continues to attract foreign investment and capital due to our persistent efforts in providing our customers with an integrated work environment and infrastructure ensuring manufacturing, packaging, warehousing and logistical efficiency. In 2015, the total number of companies increased by 8 per cent on annual basis between 2011 and 2015.”
Sulayem emphasised that these figures reiterated Jafza’s strategy and vision in playing a lead role in the post-oil future, and in implementing the vision of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates and Ruler of Dubai to diversify the Emirate’s economy and develop Jafza as an attractive foreign investment zone and a centre for regional trade.
He added that, the foreign investment in key economic sectors within Jafza was simultaneously driving other sectors, adding value to the local economy.
He attributed this growth to operational efficiency and the world-class infrastructure provided to customers in the Free Zone; thus attracting new companies to set up at Jafza and existing companies expanding their facilities. This has resulted in an inclined graph with regards to the high occupancy rate at facilities of various kinds as well as the launch of several products and innovative initiatives for customers.
He asserted that Jafza’s focus on logistics and industrial activities import and re-export of goods and consumer goods played a key role in supporting and promoting economic development in Dubai. In terms of new companies, Jafza witnessed a 12 percent growth in sectors such as equipment and machinery, electronics, steel and building materials, followed by chemical products and petroleum sector at 10 percent while food, cars and transport stood at 9 percent each, healthcare and medical products at 5 percent and services and logistics at 4 percent.
The number of commercial and administrative transactions increased by 5 per cent on annual basis between 2011 to 2015 to reach 938,000 transactions last year. Administrative transactions including General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs-Dubai, card services and medical services touched 871,000. Commercial services that ranged close to 67,000 transactions varied between licensing and leasing, registration and renewal of licenses and leases.
Ibrahim Mohamed Aljanahi, Deputy CEO and Chief Commercial Officer, said, “Jafza has been able to accomplish high figures of transactions due to our continued efforts on developing and modernising electronic and smart services thus reducing the transaction time considerably. Jafza has been working in line with HH Sheikh Mohammed’s vision to shift from e-governance to M-governance.”
He added, “Jafza also launched ‘Dalili: The customer services process guide’ for companies in Jafza that provides a detailed structure of processes for commercial and administrative services. We have also introduced the MSP, Multi Service Professional Programme, wherein all employees involved with administrative and commercial services are trained in all the sections related to customers; from back office to customer service including a thorough knowhow of the entire admin and commercial processes.”
Through this programme, our staff are ready to offer assistance to customers without any delay with complete knowledge of the process.”
The workforce in the Free Zone, both sponsored and non-sponsored was 144,000 at the end of 2015, an 8.5 percent rise over the past five years.
The increased employment is attributed to the new companies established in Jafza in addition to other expansions and the new production lines undertaken by commercial, industrial and other companies to serve the fast-growing markets in the Middle East and Africa region.
In 2015, Jafza inaugurated the first phase of Jafza One wherein the first tower with an area of 43,000 square metres is available to customers. While over 70 companies have booked office space in the first tower, the occupancy rate is more than 40 per cent as some of the companies are undergoing fit out arrangements.
Jafza One, the unique commercial complex in new Dubai, is located at the heart of Jafza, the world’s leading Free Zone. Jafza’s flagship commercial property, it is a premium ‘one-stop-shop’ business facility. Designed to satisfy a comprehensive range of corporate requirements, the complex has been developed to maximise commercial growth and enable companies to operate and thrive in a hassle-free, seamless environment.
Jafza One is located in the heart of Jafza on the logistics corridor between Jebel Ali port, Al Maktoum International Airport and Sheikh Zayed road in close proximity to all of Dubai’s major business and residential districts, as well as the World Expo 2020 Dubai exhibition venue.
Jafza One comprises 24-storeyed twin towers offering commercial area of 100,000 square metres. Along with a 600-seat innovatively designed auditorium for public events, Jafza One also has a convention centre and exhibition hall with a total floor area of 1,500 sq.m. for supplementary exhibition areas. In addition, there are 22 conferences and meeting rooms and four floors of parking space with a capacity of 4,000 vehicles.
The second phase of Jafza One is expected to be completed in the fourth quarter of this year, making it one of the highlights in the free zone that will meet customer needs. Jafza is currently also working to develop an array of expansion projects.