Al Dhafrah, the Western Region of Abu Dhabi, is a vast area of natural beauty covering a staggering 60,000 km2 of land with 90% of oil reserves and only 10% of the population of Abu Dhabi. It encompasses everything from 350 km of outstanding natural coastline to some of the tallest sand dunes in the world. It is also home to Sir Bani Yas Island – a natural and cultural reserve of the UAE and one of seven desert islands situated in the Al Dhafrah Region. In a sweeping effort to sustain the fishing community and support local businesses, Abu Dhabi Ports developed and operated the area’s key infrastructure, as part of its dynamic and sustained drive to improve port facilities across the Western Region.
The four ports in the region (Mugharraq, Delma, Al Mirfa and Al Sila) have been operational for several years but with minimal infrastructure investment. Abu Dhabi Ports created an investment plan that ensures a thriving and sustainable fishing sector for the local community, which provides jobs by facilitating the current redevelopment of the surrounding islands. These ports also support the oil & gas sector by offering general cargo handling, logistics and passenger ferry connections. In addition, Sir Bani Yas Cruise Beach was developed by Abu Dhabi Ports with a vision to create a sustainable cruise destination, now renowned for being the first and only dedicated cruise beach of its kind in the region that offers tourists an incredible cruise stop adventure.
An investment of more than USD 100 million helped to develop this two-fold project between August 2013–December 2016, which supported the infrastructure and economy in the Al Dhafra region, which included building more than 487 wet and dry berths across its ports. It also increased cruise tourism through the unique Sir Bani Yas Cruise Beach which saw a six-fold growth of cruise tourists (more than 160,000) over a span of just 3 years.