Ras Al Khaimah: an ideal global destination for manufacturing

Ras Al Khaimah: an ideal global destination for manufacturing

A thriving industrial hub

From port expansion to digitisation, steps initiated by Ras Al Khaimah goverment are contributing to the growth of the emirate in line with RAK Vision 2020-30, finds PUMMY KAUL

March 2020

As Ras Al Khaimah (RAK) continues to establish itself as a tourist destination in its own right, the northernmost of the seven emirates that make up the UAE, is also strengthening its base as a thriving hub of industry, embracing the manufacturing sector, growing its own businesses and attracting trade from overseas.

Known for its rich history, dating back 7,000 years, and diverse landscape, from 64km of pristine beaches, to terracotta deserts and an imposing mountain backdrop, the emirate is home to the highest peak in the UAE, Jebel Jais, which features the world’s longest zip line, at almost 3km.

Ras Al Khaimah is also centrally located at the modern crossroad between Europe, Asia and Africa, with one third of the world’s population within four hour’s flying time, making it an ideal location for businesses to expand into the UAE, the Middle East and Africa and beyond.

Indeed, the World Bank’s Doing Business report ranks Ras Al Khaimah 30th out of 190 economies for ease of doing business.

Officials touring the biggest waste recycling plant opened in Ras Al Khaimah

Officials touring the biggest waste recycling plant opened in Ras Al Khaimah

At the emirate’s economic heart lies multiple major companies and diverse sectoral interests. They include: RAK Ceramics, RAKBANK, Julphar Pharmaceuticals, RAK Ports, RAK Rock, Stevin Rock, RAK Economic Zone, RAK Gas, manufacturing and tourism. Supporting these industries is a modern infrastructure, state-of-the-art industrial areas and business parks and world-class hotels, facilities and attractions for tourists.

According to Ras Al Khaimah Government Media Office (RAKGMO), for the past decade, Ras Al Khaimah has been consistently rated ‘A’ by Fitch and Standard & Poor’s rating agencies and already the Emirate is home to more than 38,000 businesses from 100 countries representing over 50 industries. RAK Courts is also the fastest court in the world at enforcing contracts in commercial disputes, it said.

The emirate, which is home to many successful home-grown companies like RAK Ceramics and RAK Rock, has successfully managed to attract major companies including Indian companies, like Ashok Leyland, and build a name for itself as a leading supplier of building materials for countries throughout the Middle East.

From port expansion to digital transformation, major steps initiated by Sheikh Saud bin Saqr Al Qasimi, UAE Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Ras Al Khaimah, are contributing to the growth of the emirate in line with RAK Vision 2020-30 and the UAE National Agenda under the UAE Vision 2021.



Ras Al Khaimah witnessed a growth of around 4 per cent in terms of the number of visitors in 2019, when it received 1.12 million visitors, as per a report issued by the Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority.

Proceeds from available rooms witnessed a strong increase, reaching $$114.90, one of the highest in the region, highlighting the emirate’s strong annual occupancy rates averaging 74 per cent.

The increase in the number of visitors last year was due to a range of activities launched by the emirate, including the Jebel Jais Zip-line, the “Ras Al Khaimah Festival of Visual Arts,” the Ras Al Khaimah Half Marathon, the Tough Mudder UAE and the UAE Tour.

GAC officials welcomed boutique cruise ship MV Seabourn Oviation, the first liner to dock at the new Ras Al Khaimah (RAK) Cruise Terminal

GAC officials welcomed boutique cruise ship MV Seabourn Oviation, the first liner to dock at the new Ras Al Khaimah (RAK) Cruise Terminal

The Authority organised 122 orientation tours, participated in 20 tourism exhibitions, and conducted 34 promotional trips in 16 countries to establish its presence. It also organised 63 workshops in 12 countries, including the UK, Germany, Russia, the Commonwealth of Independent States, Scandinavia, and other countries in central and eastern Europe.

The Authority also revealed a remarkable growth in the number of visitors, with those coming from Russia, India and Kazakhstan increasing by 13 per cent, 10.5 per cent and 15 per cent, respectively, compared to 2018. This trend was reflected in other markets, for example, the number of visitors from Poland increased by 14 per cent.

Raki Phillips, CEO of the Authority, said that the emirate achieved positive results in 2019, witnessing an increase of nearly 4 per cent in terms of the number of visitors from key markets, adding that the implementation of the three-year strategy, titled, “Destination Ras Al Khaimah 2019,” which aims to attract a wider segment of tourists and visitors, also focusses on visitors with high-added value, such as those who attend events, conferences and exhibitions.

In 2020, many important commercial events will be launched, highlighting the offers that Ras Al Khaimah provides to travel and hospitality industry leaders from around the world, including at the “International Vacations Exhibition 2020,” the largest travel fair held in the Netherlands.

The Authority’s agenda this year also features many events. It will participate for the first time in the International Exhibition of Incentives, Meetings and Events, IBTM, held in Barcelona in November, and the International Tourism Exchange Exhibition, ITB, in Berlin, as well the IMIX exhibition in Frankfurt, the largest event for incentive tourism, meetings and events in Germany held from May 12 to 14.

Ras Al Khaimah was chosen in 2019 as the capital of Gulf tourism, and under the framework of its commercial and marketing activities, the tourism capital of Gulf Cooperation Council, GCC, countries, which will continue throughout the year.



The largest waste sorting and recycling plant in the northern emirate of Ras Al Khaimah with a capacity of 600 tonnes per day was opened recently.

Developed by the Public Services Department, the new facility comes in line with the UAE’s national objectives of converting 75 per cent of landfill waste by next year.

Damen Shipyards’ Damen Multi Cat 1908 vessel named Hobby delivered to RAK Ports

Damen Shipyards’ Damen Multi Cat 1908 vessel named Hobby delivered to RAK Ports

Damen Shipyards’ Damen Multi Cat 1908 vessel named Hobby delivered to RAK Ports

The plant was inaugurated by Minister of Environment and Climate Change Dr Thani Bin Ahmed Al Zayoudi in the presence of Engineer Ahmed Mohammed Al Hammadi, the director general of the Public Services Department and other executive directors of agencies and departments and sections in the Ras Al Khaimah Department.

Al Hammadi said the high amount of waste recycled this year confirms the success of the future plans of the Ras Al Khaimah Waste Management Authority.

The work at the factory will be carried out in four stages beginnning with the main task of sorting out the waste. This is followed by processing and then storage of the the recycled material and finally loading it to the vehicles for transporting in lines connected to the pressure units of these wastes.

The new plant will help increase the volume of recycled materials by 20 per cent while reducing the amount of waste transferred to landfills, stated Al Hammadi.

It will finally lead to the adoption of sustainable solutions on a large scale, thus serving the emirate in particular and the state in general.


Taking a leap to digitalisation, the Electronic Government Authority (EGA) of Ras Al Khaimah announced the completion of 280 projects by the end of 2019, as part of a digital transformation process that started in 2017.

EGA services are increasing rapidly due to a package approach, integrated cards, service lines and other ways that helped increase the services up to 330 e-services through Ras Al Khaimah Government Portal and 110 smart services on mRAK app by the end of 2019, in addition to developing 19 systems to interconnect local government entities and with federal entities, such as the Ministry of Interior, Etisalat and the Emirates Identity Authority. This reflects a great strategic planning that is consistent with RAK Vision 2020-30 and the UAE National Agenda under the UAE Vision 2021, a statement said.

Eng Ahmad Bin Saeed Al Sayyah, general manager of EGA said: “By the end of 2019, we achieved 73.8 per cent of the overall digital transformation for all government services that fall under this process. The electronic transformation of the government services included in the program was at 69 per cent, while the smart transformation reached 52 per cent. The attempt to measure the customer happiness regarding the services offered by Ras Al Khaimah Government Portal in 2019, showed 86 per cent on a sample of 17,961 customers. Today, we have 287 digital services, with 28 government entities registered with the e-messaging system “Tarresh”, 18 services available on automated machines and 205 e-services and smart services available for the employees of Ras Al-Khaimah government.

Al Sayyah continued: “EGA managed to achieve significant savings on the process, with 80 per cent of the digital transformation projects executed by EGA programmers and developers, in addition to other internal resources.

EGA launched a series of important initiatives to support the digital transformation process, most importantly the Digital ID initiative, in addition to the Smart Access initiative and more. To further empower the process, we have also prepared a survey that identifies the needs of the customers who use the digital services.”



When the boutique cruise ship MV Seabourn Oviation was the first liner to dock at the new Ras Al Khaimah (RAK) Cruise Terminal, GAC, a global provider of logistics and marine services, was portside to welcome the arrival of the cruise ship  and ensure that its call went as smooth as silk.

The red carpet was rolled out for the ultra-luxury liner’s five-hour stopover. More than 540 passengers were greeted by a local Bahriya band and authentic Arabic food, beverages and entertainment against the backdrop of the Jebel Jais mountain range and the city of Ras Al Khaimah, and were offered a range of onshore activities. GAC’s dedicated team at the port took care of the Seabourn Oviation’s inward clearance, berthing and sailing, as well as shore passes, entry and exit processing for her passengers and crew.

Boutique cruise ship MV Seabourn Oviation was the first liner to dock at the new Ras Al Khaimah (RAK) Cruise Terminal

Boutique cruise ship MV Seabourn Oviation was the first liner to dock at the new Ras Al Khaimah (RAK) Cruise Terminal

The cruise terminal can accommodate vessels up to 210-m in length and carrying approximately 1,000 guests. It has state-of-the-art immigration E-Gate equipment, CCTV and security X-Ray machines for efficient embarkation and disembarkation and to ensure that guests enjoy a hassle-free experience.

“We’re really pleased to be a part of this historic visit in a very unique part of the UAE,” said Timothy Littley, senior director of Itinerary Planning for Seabourn. “The reception we received has been incredibly enthusiastic and the feedback from our guests after the port call was quite positive. We’re grateful to our local hosts for their highly supportive approach in working with our team.”

Rajesh Moorjani, GAC Ras Al Khaimah’s general manager, thanked the local authorities, the vessel’s management and everyone who contributed to the success of the first cruise call to the new cruise terminal.

We are confident Ras Al Khaimah will become an increasingly popular cruise destination as the authorities continue to invest in and develop this sector. The GAC team is ever-ready to provide a memorable experience for our Principals and their guests,” he said.

Under its contract with Seabourn Cruise Line and Princess Cruises since the 2017 season, GAC teams in Qatar and the UAE also attended to the Seabourn Oviation when she called at Doha, Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Khor Fakkan as part of her Middle Eastern tour.



Damen Shipyards Group has delivered two vessels to RAK Ports in the UAE at the Ras Al Khaimah Cruise Terminal. The vessels in question were a Damen Multi Cat 1908 and a Stan Tug 1907.

The Multi Cat is named Hobby. The lady sponsor for the naming ceremony was Danielle Brand, daughter of Cliff Brand, CEO of RAK Ports.

The Multi Cat’s first role is positioning more than fifty pontoons for a firework display at New Year. Two world records will be attempted during this high-profile event at Marjan Island in Ras al Khaimah. Following this, Hobby will be used for general port assistance and maintenance duties, as well as maintaining navigation buoys.

The Stan Tug was named Hawk, with Gillian Robertson as lady sponsor, wife of RAK Ports’ Harbour Master Captain Mike Magee. The Hawk will join the conventional fleet at Saqr Port and will service the large volume of barges currently active at Stevin Rock Harbour.

The Hawk and Hobby will join eight other Damen Stan Tugs and Damen ASD Tugs in the RAK Ports fleet – ranging from 9 to 80+ tons bollard pull. This includes a 1976-delivered Stan Tug 7 – still going strong 43 years on.

Pascal Slingerland, Damen regional director Middle East, commented that he is delighted with the continued and fruitful relationship with RAK Ports. The Damen Stan Tugs and Multi Cat series are well proven workhorses; the 43 years old Stan Tug 7 of RAK Ports is a great example.

Capt Magee, Group Harbour Master RAK Ports, commented that the Hawk and Hobby are two great vessels and they will go straight to work.

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