Fujairah Terminals looks to new railroad, Asia trade for expansion
AD Ports Group’s Fujairah Terminals, which has operated at the Port of Fujairah under a 35-year concession since 2017, is looking at its connection to the UAE’s Etihad Rail network and increased ties with Asia to enhance cargo traffic while the cruise business takes in more passengers, the company’s CEO Abdulaziz al Balooshi said in an interview.
Connecting Fujairah Terminals to Etihad Rail has been completed and operations to move container traffic from Fujairah to Ruwais in Abu Dhabi, Sharjah, Jebel Ali in Dubai and Ras al Khaimah were expected to start in the third quarter, Balooshi told S&P Global Commodity Insights. “We believe Etihad Rail will contribute to the safety on the road and to the UAE’s goal of reducing the carbon emission footprint.” The Fujairah Cruise Terminal has received over 20,000 passengers and was expecting more visitors this year, he said, declining to be more specific.
Fujairah is better known for its oil trading and bunkering business, capitalizing on its location 70 nautical miles outside the Strait of Hormuz shipping chokepoint. It is the world’s third-largest bunkering hub and has some 17 million barrels of refined products in storage. As of Aug. 21, stockpiles stood at 17.601 million barrels, down 15% since the end of 2022. Fujairah is the terminus of the 1.5 million b/d Habshan pipeline, which carries Murban crude from Abu Dhabi to an Abu Dhabi National Oil Co. terminal. ADNOC is also building underground caverns in Fujairah to store 42 million barrels of oil.
“We need to build on the uniqueness that Fujairah has to provide logistics support solutions,” Balooshi said. Vessel turnarounds have reduced by one to two days as opposed to voyaging to other ports within the UAE. New trading opportunities were being explored between Fujairah and East Asia, the Indian subcontinent and East Africa, he said.
Fujairah Terminals currently has connections to China with loading and unloading facilities such as Abu Dhabi, Dubai, and Ruwais. The company handles some of the most complicated shipments, including recently accepting 80-meter-long blades for windmills and delivery of three 528-ton gas turbines, he said. “Our successful handling shows that we are capable and have the capacity to handle complex cargo,” he said.
In June 2021, Fujairah Terminals was inaugurated under a Dirham 1 billion ($272 million) development of the multi-purpose terminal facilities. Its general cargo handling capacity was expanded to 1.3 million mt and 720,000 twenty-foot equivalent units, or TEUs, of container capacity over an area spanning 175,000 sq meters. Over the last two years, Fujairah Terminals has handled more than 800,000 freight tons, with steel and pipes contributing 80% of the general cargo volume, he said.
In addition, the quay wall was extended from 760 meters to 1,000 meters and the draft was deepened from 12 meters to 15 meters to accommodate larger vessels. “Our ambition is to grow as a multi-purpose modal terminal on the eastern coastline of the UAE under the umbrella of AD Ports Group. Ultimately, the goal is to ensure that Fujairah Terminals builds on its potential as a gateway for industries and facilitate trade aligned with the future-focused national strategies of the UAE,” he said.