DHL Express broke ground on a new Express logistics hub at Abu Dhabi Airports Free Zone Authority (ADAFZ) in partnership with Abu Dhabi-based holding company Middle East General Enterprises (MGE), today. The move is intended to both support DHL Express’ plans to expand its presence in the Middle East, as well as Abu Dhabi Airport (AUH) and Abu Dhabi’s aims to develop into a gateway for regional logistics operations.
DHL Express’ groundbreaking on its new facility follows the recent inking of a 27-year Musataha Agreement (a type of lease allowing for construction on rented property in the United Arab Emirates) between MGE and Abu Dhabi Airports Free Zone Authority (ADAFZA), a wholly owned subsidiary of Abu Dhabi Airports to build a new facility for express cargo companies in the ADAFZ.
Musataha agreements can generally only be held by UAE nationals or companies, though exceptions to this rule exist in some areas designated for foreign investment. Given this law, DHL Express will be a key client within ADAFZ’s Express Integrator cluster and will work closely with MGE to develop a new Express logistics hub at the location.
DHL Express and MGE will jointly invest up to nearly US$100 million (AED 365 million) in the new facility, which is located in the ADAFZ’s East Midfield Development Zone. The space will cover 30,000 square meters and is planned to be operational by the fourth quarter of 2021.
The new space will provide a massive increase in capacity for DHL Express, which currently operates from a 4,300 square meter facility at AUH’s Logistics Park, according to the press release. The new space will also provide both airside and landside access to the airport for the express carrier.
Abu Dhabi Airports Senior Vice President Rowan Michael Kelly commented on the development and said working with DHL will contribute to the continued expansion of air cargo traffic through Abu Dhabi and the long-term growth and diversification of the UAE’s economy.