Cosco Shipping Ports (CSP) and Abu Dhabi Ports have launched a new terminal at Khalifa Port in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to create a regional trading hub and Middle East gateway for China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).

The new CSP Abu Dhabi Terminal will also work as the regional hub for CSP’s global network of 36 ports.

Spanning across an area of 275,000m², the facility includes a deepwater, semi-automated container terminal and the largest Container Freight Station (CFS) in the Middle East region.

It can be used to provide full and partial bonded container shipments, container packing services, and short-term warehousing for de-consolidated cargo.

With the capacity to handle 2.5 million twenty-foot equivalent units (TEU) of cargo, the terminal will initially handle 1.5 million TEU units with a 1,200m quay.

The terminal’s water depth is 16.5m, which enables it to accommodate mega-vessels that usually carry more than 20,000 TEU cargo.

Until now, CSP has invested AED1.1bn ($299m) to develop the CSP Abu Dhabi Terminal, which represents the first international greenfield subsidiary of CSP.

CSP vice-chairman and managing director Zhang Wei said: “We are launching this semi-automatic terminal to serve vessels of all sizes and to help ensure a promising future for this region.

“We will harness our unparalleled strengths to turn Abu Dhabi into a regional hub and a competitive shipping service centre.”

“CSP Abu Dhabi terminal will be equipped with value-added services such as feeder service network and easy connectivity with container terminals in Khalifa Port. It’s our broader strategy to develop Abu Dhabi as a regional logistics and trade hub and link it with industrial-free zones to expand and diversify the economy.

“Backed by our parent company, we will harness our unparalleled strengths to turn Abu Dhabi into a regional hub and a competitive shipping service centre.”

The development of CSP Abu Dhabi Terminal is based on a 35-year agreement between Abu Dhabi Ports and Cosco Shipping Ports whose terminal portfolio covers the five main port regions in Mainland China, South East Asia, Europe, the Mediterranean, and the Black Sea.

The terminal is also part of Abu Dhabi Ports’ five-year growth strategy to increase capacity at Khalifa Port.