Jebel Ali Free Zone , home to the largest port and free zone in the Middle East, contributes a fifth to Dubai’s Dh300.83 billion economy, a top official said on Monday.
“There are 6,700 companies based in Jebel Ali Free Zone, which collectively employ 170,000 people, of which 135,000 are directly sponsored by the companies based within the Free Zone,” Ebrahim Al Janahi, Deputy Chief Executive Officer of Jebel Ali Free Zone Authority (Jafza), told Gulf News on the sidelines of the Big 5 Show.
This is about 12.82 per cent of Dubai’s total 1.32 million labour force, according to Dubai Statistics Centre.
“Of these companies, about 1,500 are industrial and light manufacturing units while the majority are logistics operations of large corporates. Collectively, they contribute about 20 per cent to Dubai’s economy,” he said.
That way, Jafza’s contribution to Dubai’s Dh300.83 billion GDP equates to roughly Dh60 billion. “Total trade generated by companies with a manufacturing licence stood at Dh70 billion, in 2010, which amounts to little over 30 per cent of Jafza’s total external trade of Dh233.27 billion,” according to Al Janahi.
The number of [large] industrial companies in Jafza stood at 593 at the end of 2011, up 4.5 per cent from the previous year. Jafza saw 34 new industrial companies join the free zone last year, which includes many leading multi-nationals such as MAN, David Brown, Allison Transmission, Legnano Teknoelectric, Stemcor Special Steels Limited among others. About 61 per cent of the new companies are in Machinery and Equipment sector, 18 per cent are in Consumer Goods, 9 per cent each in Chemical/ Petroleum and Steel and Metal and 3 per cent in Automotive.
Steel, metal and building material companies based in Jafza generated trade worth Dh12.26 billion in 2010, registering a growth of 14 per cent last year in comparison to Dh10.75 billion in 2009.
A free trade zone or export processing zone, also called foreign-trade zone, formerly free port is an area within which goods may be landed, handled, manufactured or reconfigured, and reexported without the intervention of the customs authorities.