The President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev received Sultan Ahmed bin Sulayem, DP World Group CEO & Chairman, Chairman of Ports, Customs and Free Zone Corporation (PCFC), during a visit to Baku, where DP World signed an advisory agreement with the Azerbaijan Ministry of Economy and the Port of Baku to develop a framework for the Alyat Free Trade Zone in Azerbaijan.
President Aliyev hailed DP World’s partnership with his country in developing the Alyat Free Trade Zone, which once completed will transform the Port of Baku into a key logistic and transport hub in the middle of Eurasia, serving both European and Asian markets. He looked forward to further cooperation with the Group as part of the advanced economic relations between the UAE and the Republic of Azerbaijan.
Sultan Ahmed bin Sulayem expressed his delight at meeting with Azerbaijan President Ilham Aliyev with whom he explored the great potential for collaboration between DP World and the Republic of Azerbaijan in their promising ports, free zone and logistics industry.
DP World will offer Azerbaijan its expertise as a major global developer of ports and economic zones. The company develops and operates its flagship Jebel Ali Freezone (Jafza), the world’s leading free trade and economic zone.
DP World Group Chairman & CEO, Sultan bin Sulayem, said: “By entering into this advisory agreement to develop the Alyat Free Trade Zone, global trade enabler DP World has set off a new phase of cooperation with Azerbaijan. I proposed to President Aliyev the building of three new logistic free zones: The first at the Azerbaijan-Iran border, the second at the border with Russia, and the third at the border with Georgia. All of them will be connected via Azerbaijani railways to the Alyat Free Trade Zone and the port and airport of Baku. This will streamline the movement of cargo from the Port of Aktau, jointly developed and operated by DP World in Kazakhstan, to the Port of Baku and then to the Black Sea, through to DP World terminals in Romania and Turkey and across its extensive international network in Europe. The ultimate outcome of this project will be an enhanced role of Azerbaijan in global trade, by making best use of the country’s strategic location connecting the Caspian Sea with major ports on the Black Sea.”
Sultan bin Sulayem further noted that the Ports, Customs and Free Zone Corporation (PCFC) is strongly committed to reinforcing economic and commercial ties between the UAE and Azerbaijan. Bilateral trade between Dubai and Azerbaijan reached Dh1.251 billion in 2015, consisting of imports worth Dh39.34 million, exports at Dh271.28 million and re-exports adding up to Dh941.19 million. In the first quarter of this year 2016, Dubai-Azerbaijan foreign trade totalled Dh151.91 million.
“The increasing expansion of our global business portfolio at DP Word and PCFC is primarily driven by the UAE’s objectives to diversify its national economy and boost its sources of revenue ahead of the imminent post-oil phase,” added Bin Sulayem.
The Alyat Free Trade Zone will occupy 20 square kilometres once fully developed, with DP World advising on its business plan, regulations governing special economic zones and a master plan for phase one of the project, which spans 4 square kilometres.