How AD Ports' logistics cluster is supporting global trade
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How AD Ports’ logistics cluster is supporting global trade

How AD Ports’ logistics cluster is supporting global trade

Qusai Kankazar, chief operations officer of AD Ports’ Logistics Cluster, tells us how the group is growing its global presence while bolstering its regional operations

Gulf Business
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The previous year was significant for AD Ports Group’s Logistics Cluster. Tell us about the cluster’s significant achievements during this period.

I am pleased to say that the cluster has experienced remarkable growth and expansion during 2022 and over the first two quarters of this year. Our primary mission has been to establish ourselves among the top ten global logistics providers, offering integrated end-to-end solutions that drive competitive value for our clients.

To accomplish our mission, we are actively pursuing growth opportunities and expanding our presence in major global markets through organic growth, acquisitions, joint ventures, and partnerships. We have made significant strides in this regard, especially in expanding our international presence, enhancing our capabilities and assets, and broadening our portfolio of services.

Regarding the international aspect of our expansion, the most important development has been the AD Ports Group’s acquisition of Noatum, a renowned logistics player with a strong foothold in key global markets across Europe, Asia, North and South America, and Africa.

By bringing Noatum into our group family, we will expand our presence across 26 new countries, 16 new port terminals, and 143 international offices – a remarkable development that will provide us with high growth potential and capacity to scale.

Furthermore, as you are aware, 2022 saw the group’s Logistics and Economic Cities & Free Zones Clusters launch KEZAD Logistics Park 21 (KLP21), the advanced food warehousing complex. The addition, consisting of four warehouses with more than 80,000 square metres of space and 100,000 pallets capacity, is one of the region’s largest and most advanced temperature-controlled logistics centres designed to support KEZAD’s upcoming 3.3-kilometre Abu Dhabi Food Hub.

We are very excited to bring to market KLP21’s significant capabilities to serve the hub’s clients and partners and help achieve our government’s vision of positioning Abu Dhabi as a major regional and global centre for the production and wholesale of food across all major categories.

Looking at the global supply chains from a macro perspective, how do you see the logistics industry evolving to accommodate the post-pandemic dynamics, especially considering the trend towards near-shoring or on-shoring of strategic supplies?

Reflecting on the past three years, it is quite clear that the global supply chain industry had to begin pivoting away from the prevailing ‘just-in-time’ logistics model due to its heavy reliance on production capacity in a limited number of jurisdictions and its inherent vulnerability to ‘black swan’ events such as the pandemic or subsequent geo-political issues.

With this context in mind, I firmly believe that the future of logistics lies in the integration of services and diversification of sourcing through a combination of far-shore, near-shore and on-shore production. We have noted that customers are increasingly seeking out service providers that offer comprehensive solutions spanning production, sourcing, shipping, and final mile delivery – all within a single hub ecosystem.

AD Ports Group is well-positioned in this environment as our cross-cluster structure, along with global expansion, enables us to integrate all our trade and logistics services across our Ports, Maritime, Digital, Economic & Free Zones, and Logistics Clusters within a single value offering.

The development of the Abu Dhabi Food Hub, and by extension KLP21, serves the macro shift towards more near-shore and on-shore production by allowing local, regional and international manufacturers to set up their operations in KEZAD, thereby allowing them to take advantage of a very favourable business environment, low energy costs, productive and cost competitive labour, and extremely well-developed local, regional and international logistics networks.

In doing so, Abu Dhabi is helping to diversify global trade – a trend that will ultimately lead to more sustainable and reliable economic growth.

Qusai Kankazar

Tell us about KLP21’s progress since it was announced late last year.

Since the unveiling of KLP21 in Q3 2022, I am pleased to say that the complex has been fully completed and that it became operational earlier this year.

AD Ports Logistics (ADPL), the logistic services arm of AD Ports Group’s Logistics Cluster, began operating one of the complex’s state-of-the-art 20,000 square-metre warehouses, which incorporates six multi-temperature chambers capable of accommodating 45,000 pallets at storage temperatures between -26°C to 25°C.

The warehouse is equipped with an efficient racking which, coupled with the facility’s size, is capable of accommodating food and beverage shipments of varying sizes. One of the facility’s key selling features is its ability to serve a combined local, regional and global marketplace of more than 4.5 billion consumers.

This key feature is enabled by its strategic location at a midway point between Abu Dhabi and Dubai and its multimodal connectivity, which includes access to two major international airports at Abu Dhabi International Airport and Dubai International, world-class ports such as Khalifa Port, Zayed Port and Jebel Ali Port; E311 Cargo Corridor, and Etihad Rail’s recently developed rail link.

Furthermore, the complex is backed by our advanced fleet of multi-temperature transport vehicles, operated by our freight-forwarding arm MICCO Logistics, which means that we are capable of providing fully-integrated and digitally-connected end-to-end cold chain services to our clients.

Speaking of clients, KLP21 recently welcomed one of the largest food companies in the world, with a market share in over 100 countries and a leading presence in the GCC region. As the client specialises in large-scale production and wholesale of frozen and chilled animal protein products, they have chosen ADPL as a logistics provider and KLP21 as their regional hub due to our scalable storage capacity, high stock turnover, and agile supply chains capable of serving their clients across the GCC.

As part of our agreement, we are providing a number of services, including warehousing, transportation, and customs clearance services. The agreement is a significant opportunity for the team as it allows us to serve a major global player and showcase our capabilities as a trusted partner for the international food industry seeking to grow and expand its local, regional and international presence.

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