Jordan – a Kingdom with vision

The Aqaba Development Corporation (ADC) will be announcing a request for Expressions of Interest for qualified private sector developers to design, build, finance, operate and transfer (DBFOT) the New Port of Aqaba (New Port) in the Southern Industrial Zone (SIZ) under a 30-year Public Private Partnership (PPP) arrangement.

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Relocation of Main Port

H.E. Hosni Abu Ghaida, Chief Commissioner of Aqaba Special Economic Zone stated, "The relocation of Aqaba's main port to the southern industrial zone is one of the core aspects of Aqaba Special Economic Zone's (ASEZ's) Master Plan.

"The relocation project will enable Aqaba to modernize/upgrade and significantly increase its port capacity, in addition to vacating a prime stretch of seafront to be used for new mixed-use waterfront commercial, residential and tourism developments".

H.E. Imad Fakhoury, CEO of ADC stated, "The relocation of the port is key to unlocking Aqaba's full potential and enabling it to better rival other regional ports as a major trading and logistics hub, whilst also allowing redevelopment of vacated main port and surrounding area (over 300 hectares) into a world-class mixed-use waterfront destination that is fully integrated into Aqaba's northern urban tourism corniche."

ADC recently announced that real estate master-developer for main port redevelopment is an Abu Dhabi consortium, Al-Ma'abar, with an expected investment of US$5 billion.


New Port of Aqaba

The New Port that will replace existing Main Port facilities, is part of ADC's transport master-plan that is transforming Aqaba, Jordan's sole maritime gateway, into a leading multi-modal logistical gateway for the Levant region on the Red Sea and positions Aqaba as a hub at the cross-road of Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), North Africa and Levant region.

In addition the development of this New Port is part of ADC's multi-modal PPP projects that have been launched in Aqaba from Air Cargo Terminal at Aqaba's open-skies airport for sea-air linkages, to Logistic, industrial and manufacturing zones, from computerized truck-marshaling yards to rehabilitation programs for all port and transport infrastructure, superstructure and services.

This New Port will comprise three distinct new terminals that will be located in a large basin created by dredging the foreshore, and they include the General Cargo and Ro-Ro Terminal, the Grain Terminal and the Ferry Terminal.  All three terminals will be well positioned to serve Jordan's captive market and play a leading role in serving the Levant and re-construction efforts in Iraq.

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The General Cargo and Ro-Ro Terminal, which will be situated on 89 hectares of land in the SIZ, will consist of a new multi-user, multi-purpose general cargo terminal.

It will replace the existing general cargo berths in the Main Port and will accommodate other cargo displaced by other port developments. Initially, the Terminal will have a capacity for 1.3 million tons of general cargo (break bulk) and 300,000 vehicles as well as 70,000 head of livestock with future potential expansion for up to 2.0 million tons per annum (tpa) of break bulk, 400,000 vehicles and 100,000 livestock.

The new Grain Terminal will replace the existing grain facilities at the Main Port. It will handle the import of grains for the Jordan Silos and Supply General Company (JSSGC) and private importers as well as the transshipment of grain to other markets. The Terminal will consist of a new grain berth, storage terminal with truck loading facilities and a bagging plant.

There will be a dedicated grain berth in the New Port with conveyer connection to storage silos to be constructed adjacent to the berth. The terminal will have an initial capacity of 2.3 million tons per anum (tpa) with the capacity to handle 3 million tpa through the addition of a second grain elevator.

The selected developer will start operating the existing Ferry Terminal in Middle port by mid-2009. The rehabilitated existing terminal will be complemented by a new built larger facility within the New Port area, which will provide a much needed upgrade, expansion, improvement of operations and enhanced services for the new ferry terminal.

The existing ferry terminal is handling 1.3 million passengers per year as well as 110,000 trucks and vehicles that are crossing between North Africa and West Asia with a ferry business that is growing exponentially. The New Ferry Terminal will have an annual capacity of 1.6m passengers, 10,000 buses, 80,000 trucks and 200,000 cars.

The selected New Port developer/operator can also make use of and benefit from surrounding industrial land adjacent to New Port which is part of the 2,000 hectares SIZ.


National Priority

IJ Online initially reported on the New Port of Aqaba project in February when H.E. Imad Fakhoury, CEO of ADC presented the project to senior level industry figures at the IJ Transport Forum 2008 in Turnberry Resort, Scotland.

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As a national priority and a public private partnership, the New Port is structured to create a commercially attractive, secure investment opportunity.


ADC, ASEZA and the Government of Jordan are to provide a range of key public sector financial and non-financial support, including:

  • Contribution to infrastructure costs
  • Ancillary infrastructure
  • Mitigation of certain environmental impacts.

In 2005, ADC appointed a pool of project advisors for the New Port:

  • BearingPoint, lead project advisor
  • Royal Haskoning, technical advisor
  • Taylor DeJongh, financial advisor
  • IB Law, legal advisor

As reported by IJ Online in February, ADC conducted a market research programme led by its lead advisor, Bearing Point, to gauge the level of interest in the New Port.

This was to ensure that the scope - as well as transaction structure - of the project would be both financially attractive and flexible enough to attract investors. Around 90 firms were interviewed and/or participated in focus groups. In May 2008, ADC re-tested the market appetite of the New Port.


Tender

ADC will be seeking a qualified development private partner to DBFOT the New Port.
 
The request for EOIs from interested parties will be issued by ADC in late June and ADC will issue a Request for Qualifications in mid July. Subsequently, ADC will announce a short list of qualified bidders that qualify to participate in the formal tender process upon the issuance of the Request of Proposal. 

Upon issuance of the request for EOIs, the fast track tender process will be finalized and a preferred bidder will be selected by the end of 2008.


Conclusion

Jordan has taken a decisive and cohesive approach to devising the Kingdom's plans to centre itself as a transport hub in the Middle East.

The Kingdom has gone about launching its ambitious plans in the right way by taking on board the needs of the private sector and driving its ambitions in harmony with potential developers.

This is an ambitious project with an eye to wider infrastructure improvements that will bring Jordan's facilities into the new century and have it compete with regional rivals on an equal - and in many cases, superior - basis.

To access the ADC website, click here...