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Sultan Ahmed bin Sulayem. Free Zones play vital role in post-oil economy
11/05/2017 11:31

Sultan Ahmed bin Sulayem. Free Zones play vital role in post-oil economy

Jebel Ali Free Zone attracts 470 companies in 2016

Jebel Ali Free Zone, a subsidiary of global trade enabler DP World, attracted 470 new companies during 2016 with a growth rate of 7% over the previous five years, DP World Group Chairman and CEO Sultan Ahmed bin Sulayem told a gathering of business leaders recently.

The Multaqa Jafza 2017, a gathering of consultants, agents and legal firms working to promote Jafza products and services worldwide under the banner “Building a Better Business Together” was attended by Mohammed Al Muallem Senior Vice President and Managing Director DP World UAE Region and CEO of Jafza and senior representatives from foreign embassies legal consultants and strategic partners.

Speaking at the event, Mr. Bin Sulayem said: “Jafza works with its partners to attract businesses looking to set up their regional base of operations in the UAE. By providing everything that a business needs in line with international standards, the Free Zone attracted 470 new companies last year. Despite the challenges facing the global economy, this translates to a combined annual growth rate of 7% over the five years leading up to 2016.”

Of the 470 companies established in Jafza last year, 58 per cent came from the Middle East, followed by those from the Asia-Pacific, region 21% with 16% from Europe, 3% from the Americas and 2% from Africa.

Мr. Bin Sulayem added:"As part of its business strategy, Jafza has continued to attract foreign investment in key economic sectors that add value to the local economy and other related sectors, helping to drive the UAE’s s economic development forward.”

He also noted that by providing an efficient operating environment, Jafza enables companies to focus on their operations, increase their financial returns and achieve business goals.

Mr. Bin Sulayem added that Jafza's long-term strategy is to become the world's leading provider of sustainable industrial and logistics infrastructure solutions by upgrading its infrastructure, products and services. The approachis key in establishing Jafza's reputation as the world's most innovative free zone.

Supporting SMEs

Jafza provides significant support to small and medium enterprises through more than 10 business incubators, as well as work stations and business centers with ready-to-use offices. These services promote a culture of entrepreneurship by creating an attractive environment to help entrepreneurs launch into the market with minimum lead time.

Enhancing customer experience

Meanwhile, Jafza is currently working on an integrated project to re-engineer all its operational processes and services to improve the customer experience. This is being done through modernising electronic and smart services, reducing the time it takes to complete transactions and enabling companies to access a 24/7 service from anywhere around the world.

There were more than 972,000 service transactions in 2016 by Jafza customers, compared to 938 in 2015.

New facilities

During the event, Jafza thighlighted the launch of 110 new leasable warehouses in Jafza South. The development is aimed at meeting the integrated needs of the supply chain and logistics sector, enabling companies to improve their distribution platforms to regional markets.

Jafza has also launched a new residential complex within the Free Zone with 582 rooms to ensure that workers enjoy the highest levels of comfort by providing a safe and healthy living environment.

A multi-storey car storage project is also under development at the National Industries Complex to support the burgeoning automobile trade in the Dubai Auto Zone (DAZ). Close to Jebel Ali Port, the project will allow companies to import and re-export vehicles easily. The five-storey car storage facility covers an area of 82,000 meters and will have the capacity to hold 12,000 cars at a time. It includes all the services needed by the automotive industry under one roof, most notably 4,000 square meters for office space, in addition to workshops with an area of 1,300 square meters to repair and modify cars,

A panel discussion entitled "Building Better Business Together" was held as part of the forum including participation of Samer Qudah, Partner and Head of Corporate Structuring at Al Tamimi & Company, and Tahir Mahmood, Head of Business Development, Nasdaq Dubai, the panel discussion moderated by Steven Henderso, partner Baker & McKenzie Habib Al Mulla.

Tahir Mahmood, Head of Business Development, Nasdaq Dubai, said:

“Nasdaq Dubai is the ideal platform for Jafza-based businesses to raise capital for growth through an IPO.  We are in contact with a growing number of companies there that are interested in the global visibility and access to regional and international investors that are provided by listing on our market.”

Mr. Qudah comment: “In my view, Jafza has not only successfully managed to retain its leading position as the most mature and credible free zone in the Middle East region, but also continued to reinvent itself to cater for a consistently changing business environment and reflect its commitment to support its companies in such a challenging economy. It has also kept itself on top of the game and revamped its rules and regulations in line with international standards to attract more foreign investments to Dubai”

At the end of the forum Sultan Ahmed bin Sulayem and Mohammed Al Muallem honored business partners such as embassies, consulates, commercial promotion agencies, legal institutions and others.

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