An inside look into why 2014 will mark Sharjah's biggest project spending year ever

Published May 15th, 2014 - 03:38 GMT

Sharjah is expected to have its biggest year yet for projects in 2014, with the total value of awards reaching as high as Dh11 billion ($3 billion) — 25 per cent higher than 2013,  a Meed Projects forecast says.

Opportunities for firms are expected to exceed a record Dh22 billion once new construction, water, power, roads and environment projects already slated for award between now and 2018 are added.

Meed Projects research found that major project awards in Sharjah in the two years to the end of 2013 were almost Dh19 billion, or three times the rate of the previous two-year period to the end of 2011.

Overall, Meed Projects is currently tracking some 188 active major projects in Sharjah, which are either planned or underway. The total value of these projects is almost Dh60 billion. The bulk of these contracts are in the power and water, industrial, transport, infrastructure, construction, public works and environment sectors.

Looking ahead to the next five years, there are some interesting projects covering niche sub-sectors such as industrial construction and renewable power generation. Major projects currently under consideration in these sectors include waste management, recycling and waste-to-energy projects worth nearly half a billion dollars.  Sharjah is investing heavily in its transport infrastructure too, with Dh8.5 billion worth of projects planned.

“Sharjah is just beginning to capitalise on its earlier investments in Hamriyah Free Zone and Khorfakkan,” said Julian Herbert, director of Meed Projects. “Based on economic growth and growth in the population of the UAE as a whole, this emphasis on transport, the processing of recyclable materials and manufacturing, positions Sharjah well to grow in tandem with the UAE,” Herbert said.

Sharjah is regarded as the industrial and manufacturing centre of the UAE, with 19 industrial zones and two thriving free zones. At Al Hamriya Freezone, projects worth a total of more than Dh1.5 billion are underway by companies including Lamprell, Quality International, Eversendai Engineering, Emirates Techno Casting, and Hazel Middle East. Al Hamriya Freezone is specialised in bulk and heavy infrastructure.

In addition to heavy industry and trade Sharjah is focused on developing its tourism infrastructure, renewable energies and healthcare sectors.

Sharjah is building new tourist resorts throughout the emirate and applying to Unesco to list the Heart of Sharjah historical area as a Unesco World Heritage Site.

Renewable energy sources being used currently include wind and geothermal. Sharjah has also developed Al Saj’ah as one of the largest waste management plants in the world.

Sharjah Healthcare City has ambitions to be the largest healthcare facility in the country. 

Meanwhile Sharjah recently disclosed that it is nearing completion on 21 projects to mark its year as Islamic Capital of Culture at a value of nearly Dh1.5 billion. The projects include building new universities, monuments, Islamic parks, traditional markets, museums and libraries, as well as scientific and architectural buildings.

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