Jafza: a unique trade ecosystem

Jafza: a unique trade ecosystem

A major catalyst for trade

Gulf and Middle Eastern countries provide 35 per cent of total trade volume at Jebel Ali Free Zone (Jafza), an integrated business hub, which has evolved into a trade catalyst

November 2020

Gulf and Middle Eastern countries provide 35 per cent of total trade volume at Jebel Ali Free Zone (Jafza) with Saudi Arabia being the integrated business hub’s largest trade partner in the region, according to the latest edition of The Zone, Jafza’s trade publication.

Jafza, the flagship free zone of DP world, has evolved into a trade catalyst that offers a dynamic base for thousands of businesses, from over 100 countries. A unique trade ecosystem, it reduces cost while enabling new opportunities for growth, attracting both global leaders and local entrepreneurs.

A focal point for international commerce within the retail and general trading sectors, suppliers, distributors, manufacturers and logistics companies all benefit by utilising Jafza as a critical component of their supply chains. That should come as no surprise, with Jafza offering connectivity to approximately over 3.5 billion people, an air-sea corridor, and a first-class service; an efficient system of trade facilitation that’s unrivalled anywhere in the region.



A Favoured Destination

Business growth underlines Jafza’s desire for value creation, and this has fuelled increased business with many countries throughout the world.

Iraq (310 per cent year-on-year), Pakistan (301 per cent year-on-year), Kenya (406 per cent year-on-year), and the US (170 per cent year-on-year) are nations that have ever-expanding trade through Jafza. And while Jafza is currently not opening up any new markets, it is strengthening its presence (increasing volume growth over the last five years) in Australia (42 per cent CAGR) and the Africa (35 per cent CAGR).

The emergence of Jafza as the most favoured destination for Arab companies can be attributed to the free zone’s investor-friendly seamless eco-system and its key offerings, including outstanding multi-modal connectivity through the Dubai Logistics Corridor, a key facet in facilitating container and cargo traffic between Al Maktoum International Airport and Jebel Ali Port. Most of the companies in Jafza serve all of the regional markets from their facilities.


Genuine Benefits

In the retail and general trading sector, Jafza plays host to in excess of 1,000 companies from 96 countries: around 39 per cent of these companies come from the Middle East, 30 per cent from Asia, 15 per cent from Europe, 9 per cent from North America and 7 per cent from Africa.

More than 10,000 personnel are employed in the sector, which operates across combined facilities roughly two million sq m.

There are genuine benefits for companies locating in big cities such as Dubai, including large, highly educated talent pools, robust infrastructure, and a network of other companies that do business with each other; the latter a fact that must never be overlooked, despite much global trade being carried out digitally.

It is no coincidence therefore, that Dubai remains an attractive option for forward-looking and innovative retailers and general traders, such as Hewlett-Packard Europe (Regional Branch Office); Hitachi (Gulf Office); Honeywell Middle East; Puma Middle East; Mitsubishi Corporation Trading Middle East; Landmark Group; and LuLu Group International, all of which call Jafza home.


Smart Business Community

Retail sales volume continues to rise and it will only continue trending upward as the entire experience becomes more streamlined and frictionless. However, the face of the industry is changing rapidly. The ongoing shift towards online is impacting many traditional retailers and general traders, the consumer is king and if customers want to buy online, then that is their call.

That said, new technologies, from Augmented Reality (AR) to robotics, are helping companies to turn the tide, with many now combining online and offline, digital and physical, to survive in turbulent times. And Jafza will continue to support these businesses as they evolve and adapt by providing a smart business community that offers unprecedented growth opportunities and market access.

35 years of business without boundaries

From its humble beginning as the UAE’s pioneering trade and logistic hub, Jafza has come a long way charting a mammoth growth: from just 19 companies back in 1985, today that figure has grown over 8,000 companies.

Created under a Ruler’s Decree, Jafza commenced operations with standard size office units and warehouses to provide ready-built facilities for customers. In 1990, it expanded its facilities to include light industrial units and is today the world’s largest free zone.

Spread out over a sprawling 57 sq km, Jafza sustains over 135,000 jobs in the UAE, and attracts 23.9 per cent of Dubai’s foreign direct investment (FDI). Along with Jebel Ali Port, Jafza accounted for 33.4 per cent and 10.7 per cent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of Dubai and the UAE respectively, said The Zone in its September issue.



A premier trade facilitation body, Dubai Trade offers integrated electronic services from a broad spectrum of trade and logistics service providers under a single window. These online services, supplied by its stakeholders, are designed around customer needs and the desire to provide the last word in customer satisfaction.

Jafza, for example, is the first Free Zone in the UAE to introduce 5G connectivity to its customers. This connectivity will support business digital transformation, with the technology demonstrated on-board an Etisalat-Ericsson co-branded bus. Both business leaders and employees hopped on-board to experience 3D hologram communication, and remote vehicle control 5G connected display. Industry-specific demonstrations were also featured.

Moreover, to deliver services relating to the sponsorship of family visas to people employed in companies operating in Jafza and National Industries Park (NIP), Jafza has signed an agreement with Amer. Translated as ‘At your Service’ in Arabic, Amer is now a single window for government transactions that take in visa and associated documentation required by dependants of foreign residents in the UAE.

This continuing growth and evolution underline Jafza’s commitment to building alliances with global investors by providing them with world-class infrastructure and support, in addition to quality-driven, value-added services and incentives.

These services and incentives include a range of facilities, such as pre-built modern warehouses ready to be leased, office space in various sizes to accommodate the requirements and terms of any company of any size, and reserved plots of land for large-scale projects such as manufacturing. Whatever the project, therefore, this allows Jafza’s customers to access significant business opportunities in the region with ease and in an efficient manner.


A Bold Enterprise

Jafza’s growth has been marked by a number of milestones, not least a series of market-leading quality management standards. These include the first free-zone to achieve ISO 9001 and 27001 certifications; the first and only free zone to win both the Dubai Quality Award in 2003, 2010 and 2014 (DOA), the Sheikh Mohammed Award for Best E-Government Service Award; the first free-zone to be awarded the Skeikh Khalifa Excellence Award 2016, Diamond Category; and the first free-zone to pick up the Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Innovation Award, in 2018. In addition, Jafza also won the Dubai Human Development Appreciation Award 2014.

This commitment to quality means that Jafza can provide its trade customers with an environment that is most conducive to structured growth. Located near Jebel Ali Port, Al Maktoum International Airport and linking to the Dubai Logistics Corridor, Jafza provides the best multimodal connectivity, and connects business with over 3.5 billion consumers.

Jafza was and still is a bold enterprise; one that started the ball rolling for the business development of Dubai as a whole. Today, in tandem with the Jebel Ali port, it stands as an example of what can be achieved with an innovative idea and entrepreneurial spirit.  

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