Dubai launches MENA’s first e-commerce freezone

Dubai ecomThe freezone is divided into three clusters designed in a modern and innovative way to strategically achieve environmental and investment sustainability. (Image source: DAFZA)Dubai CommerCity, a US$740mn and 2.1mn square feet, was launched as a joint venture between Dubai Airport Freezone (DAFZA) and wasl Asset Management Group in the Umm Ramool

Dubai CommerCity is the first free zone dedicated to e-commerce in the MENA region, is strategically intended to promote Dubai’s position as a leading platform for international e-commerce and to support economic diversification and smart transformation strategies.

The project will accelerate the growth of the e-commerce market which is expected to reach US$20bn in 2020 in the GCC countries. It will provide an environment that stimulates creativity and attracts more direct foreign investments in line with Dubai Plan 2021 which aims to create a unique and sustainable economy based on innovation.

DAFZA chairman Sheikh Ahmed Bin Saeed Al Maktoum expressed his confidence that the joint venture will add a new dimension to Dubai’s commercial activity and will help attract more direct foreign investments to the emirate.

The project is led by the inspiring vision of HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE Vice-President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, to establish a unique and sustainable economy based on growth, innovation, diversification, and competitiveness. These are features of the post-oil stage which are in line with Dubai Plan 2021’s goal of making Dubai first globally in ease of doing business as well as a preferred investment destination by 2021.

The chairman emphasised that freezones enjoy flexible and adaptable legislations and business systems – a unique feature that empowers economic clusters and accelerates their growth. He added that freezones also play strategic roles locally and regionally in enhancing global trade routes and supply chains.

Dubai CommerCity has exceptional competitive advantages that make it one of the most attractive freezones for foreign direct investment in the regional markets, and a unique gateway for Dubai and the UAE to access a promising international economic sector. The new freezone is strategically located near the Dubai International Airport, well-connected to major local and national highways. It provides direct access for e-commerce stakeholders in the MENA and South Asia regions. It offers world-class cargo and logistics services and an integrated and sophisticated infrastructure with easy access to land and seaports, enabling swift and efficient distribution and delivery of services which are essential to competing in the world of e-commerce as well as minimizing supply chain costs.

Dr Mohammed Al Zarooni, director general of DAFZA, said, “Dubai CommerCity will enhance the role of e-commerce as a key driver of Dubai’s sustainable economy. DAFZA will apply its leading experiences and services based on comprehensive studies on the future of e-commerce in the MENA region. Dubai CommerCity complements the expansion plans and achievements led by DAFZA aimed at attracting foreign direct investments to Dubai, driven by its vision, ‘The freezone that goes beyond,’ in cooperation with wasl Asset Management Group with which we have a successful partnership. Through Dubai CommerCity, we aim to play an organisational, operational and knowledge-based role that will contribute to the building of a new world-class freezone and the creation of a unified platform for government, administrative, customs and logistics services that meet the needs of the e-commerce sector, in response to the vision of the wise leadership of achieving sustainable development”.

Dubai CommerCity spans a total area of 427,000 sq m inclusive of office spaces and logistics units covering 207,000 sq m; a total leasable area of 176,000 sq m; and infrastructure and parking areas over 220,000 sq m, with 4,000 parking slots for its customers. The freezone is divided into three clusters designed in a modern and innovative way to strategically achieve environmental and investment sustainability. State-of-the-art technologies are implemented to provide investors with quality experiences.

The new freezone will also drive steadily growing private investment activities supporting the region’s start-ups which have already exceeded US$870mn, especially as most start-ups are involved in e-commerce, IT and Internet-based services, of which the UAE has the largest share in the region. Over the next five years, the e-commerce sector is projected to account for 10 per cent of the Dubai’s retail sales, which are in turn expected to reach US$54.45bn by the end of 2017.

Dubai CommerCity is also fully committed to supporting the goal of the wise leadership to reduce the UAE carbon footprint by 25 per cent by 2030 through the adoption of non-traditional methods in accordance with global standards for a sustainable environment and a green economy; reducing electricity consumption by using solar energy; and lowering water wastage by 40 per cent through the treatment of polluted water and the collection and reuse of stormwater. Strategies also include the reduction of pollution and implementation of global environmental standards related to the construction of light industrial units and buildings as well as the use of environmentally friendly building materials and recycled resources.

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