Abu Dhabi Ports has signed a 30-year concession agreement with Switzerland’s MSC Mediterranean Shipping Company to build a container terminal at Khalifa Port in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

The proposed terminal intends to attract major international companies at Khalifa Port and increase the port’s container handling capacity from 2.5 million twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) to 8.5 million TEUs in five years.

Under the new deal, MSC will invest a total of AED4bn ($1.1bn) at the port through its Terminal Investments (TiL) unit.

Abu Dhabi Ports CEO Juma Al Shamisi said: “Khalifa Port plays a vital role in Abu Dhabi Ports’ strategy that aims to further enhance the capital and the UAE’s economic and trade positioning on a regional and global level.

“MSC will invest a total of AED4bn ($1.1bn) over the life of concession agreement in operational equipment.”

“The proposed investment will be made to increase the port’s current 12 ship-to-shore cranes to a total of 25 technologically advanced cranes.”

The proposed investment will be made to increase the port’s current 12 ship-to-shore cranes to a total of 25 technologically advanced cranes over the next two years.

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The developments will also include deepening of berths to enable the Khalifa Port to receive the world’s largest shipping vessels that specialise in bulk cargo shipment.

MSC Mediterranean Shipping Company president and CEO Diego Aponte said: “The UAE has a rich history in international trade and after two decades of operating in the country, MSC is pleased to continue to support the growth of the local maritime economy.

“We are confident that with this investment we will continue to ensure a high level of service for our customers and have the capacity to grow the scale of our operations in the UAE.”

MSC is set to gradually shift some of its container handling operations in the UAE region to Khalifa Port from July.