The Khalifa Industrial Zone Abu Dhabi (KIZAD) is a massive 417-km2 industrial park that is strategically located halfway between Abu Dhabi and Dubai. Launched in 2012, it has already emerged as a serious competitor to the Jebel Ali Free Zone (JAFZA).

KIZAD specialises in industrial activities, logistics and trading and is intrinsically linked to Khalifa Port, one of the world’s most advanced deep-sea ports. This strategic joint port and industrial zone proposition has assumed a major role in the region’s manufacturing and transportation sectors.

In 2016, Abu Dhabi Ports launched the Khalifa Port Free Trade Zone (KPFTZ) within KIZAD in response to the growing demand for free zones and to enhance the future of trade in UAE’s capital. It is the largest free zone in the Middle East and has already attracted more than US$1 billion in foreign direct investment from China alone.

Last August Abu Dhabi Ports and the Jiangsu Provincial Overseas Cooperation and Investment Company (JOCIC) announced that 15 Chinese companies had signed investment co-operation agreements to occupy and develop approximately 2.2 km2 of the free trade zone for companies from the Chinese province of Jiangsu. This area, now known as the China-UAE Industrial Capacity Co-operation Industrial Park, is part of the KPFTZ and is expandable to reach 12.2 km2.

The Gulf region’s first semi-automated port, Khalifa Port’s capacity is expected to increase from 2.5 million TEUs to 8.5 million TEUs over the next five years, supported by a huge amount of FDI. The Free Zone aims to contribute 15% of Abu Dhabi’s non-oil GDP by 2030.

Packages include both workstations and warehouse options. Fees begin at AED 11,000 for a 1-visa workstation package, extending up to AED 23,000 for a 4-visa workstation package. This cost is excluding security deposit and establishment card. KIZAD have also waived the E-Channel deposit fee.

Warehouse space starts from AED 350 per m2 but, unlike other free zones, the licence fees are included in the lease cost. If required, the free zone can apply for more visas if the number required exceeds the allocated amount for the warehouse. KIZAD also offers a dual licence; with permission from the DED, the company can also operate onshore without using a distribution agent.

The share capital needs to be paid up but is still lower than JAFZA at AED 26,000 for a workstation package and AED 150,000 for a warehouse package. Another benefit is that the client can opt to open a bank account or start with the visa processing before the licence has been issued. Traditionally, banks would only open an account once a visa had been issued.

Other benefits of KIZAD include:

  • First Free Zone in the UAE to be connected with the planned railway network.
  • Modular highway dedicated for large equipment movement.
  • Extensive network for power, water, waste management, etc.
  • Large plots of industrial land, modular warehouses and office space.
  • Competitive lease rates and utility rates
  • Lower terminal handling charges and fast truck turnaround time.
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