A delegation from the Aqaba Container Terminal (ACT), the world’s gateway to Jordan and beyond, is currently in Dubai holding a roadshow event as one of a series of international events to promote the port of Aqaba as a viable shipping option. The event, operated in conjunction with the Aqaba Development Corporation (ADC), aims to build ties with the Iraqi business community in order to promote Aqaba as the ideal gateway for goods on their way to Jordan’s eastern neighbor.
The roadshow includes a press briefing, which took place on April, the 24th, and a trade conference which is taking place on April, the 25th, at the Intercontinental Hotel in Festival City - Dubai. The members of the delegation attending the roadshow include Amin Kawar, the COO at ADC, ACT’s CEO Soren Hansen, Chief Commercial Officer Richard Davidsen, and Communications and Public Relations Manager Ihab Al Rawashdeh.
The port of Aqaba has been growing steadily, with more shipping companies and businesses recognizing the strategic value of its location and the abundance of regional markets it is able to serve. This was reflected in ACT’s recent end-of-year figures; in 2011 the port experienced total growth of 16.5%, export growth of 13.6%, import growth of 19.1%, and reefer growth of 17.9%. In recent years, Aqaba has processed an increasing volume of goods whose final destination is beyond Jordan’s borders. ACT has reported that the port is now seeing cargo destined for northern Saudi Arabia and Iraq with increasing frequency.
“Our port facility in Aqaba is the smartest, safest way to get goods in and out of Iraq,” commented Kawar. “Not only do we have political stability and excellent infrastructure, but the container terminal has a close, cooperative relationship with the Jordanian government. We have been able to work closely with the relevant government ministries to address issues related to customs fees and collection, free trade agreements, and streamlining regulation in order to create favorable conditions for shipping.”
Soren Hansen, CEO of ACT, also spoke about the benefits offered by the terminal in Aqaba. “Our facility is an efficient, cost-effective option for businesses moving cargo in the Levant,” Hansen said. “Our growth at ACT is heavily driven by the trade to and from neighboring countries, including Iraq. In 2011, transit cargo increased by 63 percent, and we expect to take this growth even further in 2012. We have also taken steps to modernize the existing equipment and operations over the last few years, while also embarking on a major expansion of our berth. This means that the volume of cargo we are able to handle is increasing, whereas the time it takes us to process our cargo is decreasing. That is why we are seeing more and more businesses in Iraq and Saudi Arabia now viewing Aqaba as a long-term, sustainable element in their supply chain.”
“The importance of Dubai as a regional business center cannot be ignored,” added ACT’s Chief Commercial Officer, Richard Davidsen. “There are countless companies here that are importing and exporting items in the Middle East, and for many of them it would make sense for their bottom line to ship through Aqaba. Often companies aren’t aware what we have to offer as a terminal and what we can do for their business; our job at these roadshows is to communicate these benefits to the appropriate people.”
ACT is a joint venture between the Aqaba Development Corporation (ADC) and APM Terminals — the leading global provider of advanced logistical services — operating via a 25-year build-operate-transfer agreement signed in 2006. The terminal constitutes the logistical and economic backbone of the Aqaba Special Economic Zone Authority (ASEZA), serving as the preferred gateway to the region for many active markets around the world. Over the years, the terminal has been a shining example of a large-scale establishment operating under a progressive leadership with an uncompromising dedication to sustainable growth.