As a key driver of the UAE’s economy, the free zone generated trade worth $104.2 billion in 2020

As a key driver of the UAE’s economy, the free zone generated trade worth $104.2 billion in 2020

Jafza posts robust customer growth in H1, 2021

DP World’s leading trade and logistics hub Jebel Ali Free Zone (Jafza) registered nearly 40 per cent growth in new customer registrations during the first half of 2021

01 November 2021

DP World’s flagship Jebel Ali Free Zone (Jafza) witnessed a robust new customer growth of nearly 40 per cent year-on-year in the first half (H1) of 2021, taking the total number of companies in Jafza to over 8,700.

Some of the industry segments in Jafza observed a significant rise in figures, with Machinery and Equipment witnessing an increase of 188 per cent, Vehicle and Transport seeing a 100 per cent surge and Retail & General trading growing by 78 per cent.

Damithan: striving for a sustained growth

Damithan: striving for a sustained growth

As a major contributor to Dubai’s economy, Jafza is a leading source of FDI inflow into the emirate, accounting for 23.9 per cent of total foreign investment. The free zone generated trade worth $104.2 billion in 2020. These figures contribute 32 per cent of the total trade value of Dubai as of 2020.



The free zone’s ideal location alongside the region’s largest deep-sea Jebel Ali Port, its multimodal connectivity and proximity to the Al Maktoum International Airport, the much-awaited Etihad Railway and key regional highways has proved to be a major attraction for companies.

Additionally, Jebel Ali Port and Jafza’s combined capabilities and their collaboration with Expo 2020 Dubai have contributed to the surge in business. The Jebel Ali hub ensured all Expo-related cargo was brought into Dubai and handled safely and promptly.

Abdulla Bin Damithan, CEO & Managing Director, DP World UAE &Jafza, said: “Jafza plays an integral role in leading Dubai’s trade sector as a regional and global business and logistics hub of choice. We are proud of our achievements as they come at a time when the world economy is witnessing a slowdown. Most importantly, we owe our success, in part, to the proactive approach, innovative policies and stimulus packages by our wise leadership.

“Our achievement proves our grit and determination, showcasing our commitment to being at the forefront of Dubai and the UAE’s success story. The sustained growth of Jafza since its inception is an indication of its ability to leverage key market dynamics and create numerous opportunities for customers in the most challenging times.”

As a specialised industrial, trading and logistics zone, Jafza is recognised as a dynamic base for a smart business community. The free zone offers unprecedented opportunities and market access to over 3.5 billion people, across varied sectors in the MEASA region.



Jafza has signed an agreement with Arab Bank for Investment and Foreign Trade (Al Masraf) to support business operations of SMEs and other enterprises licensed within Jafza.

The memorandum of understanding (MoU) aims to strengthen DP World’s commitment to facilitate the business activities of more than 8,700 customers operating within the free zone, helping Jafza achieve its goal of empowering SMEs and attracting entrepreneurs from around the globe.

The MoU was signed by Abdulla Bin Damithan, CEO & Managing Director of DP World UAE and Jafza and Charles Doghlass, Acting – Chief Executive Officer of Al Masraf in the presence of senior officials from both parties.

Through this partnership, Jafza will enable SMEs to streamline their financial processes such as account opening, financial documentation, and automation of the remediation process for its partners. The MoU will fully support both Jafza and Al Masraf in terms of record-keeping of the licensed businesses in the free zone.

Ahmad Al Haddad, Chief Operating Officer - Parks and Zones, DP World UAE said: “The SMEs sector contributes to more than 53 per cent of the UAE’s non-oil GDP.As per the Ministry of Finance, this figure is set to rise to 60 per cent by end of 2021.We have countless success stories of SMEs that are now international companies with a global reach. To maintain our growth momentum and adhere to the national goals, we are committed to supporting new startups through our trade accelerators, business incubators and partnerships with financial institutions.”

“Our agreement comes at an important time as EXPO 2020 Dubai, a gateway for many business opportunities for SMEs and startups has commenced successfully. The MoU will support both Jafza and Al Masraf to achieve our shared objective of enhancing economic and commercial engagement. We are confident that it will open new business and trade opportunities by enabling seamless transactions within the free zone,” he added.

Charles Doghlass, Acting – Chief Executive Officer, Al Masraf, said: “In line with UAE government’s ambition to enhance the contribution and performance of the SME sector as the SME represents 94 per cent of the total number of companies operating in the country providing jobs for more than 86 per cent of private sector workforce, Al Masraf is proud to partner with DP World in its relentless efforts to enhance and facilitate the business setup and operations of SMEs within Jafza.

“We believe that SMEs and startups are vital to the growth of the economy and enabling them to take advantage of premium financial services will simplify their operations and enhance their ease of doing business. We have been assigned as a Long-Term Issuer Default Rating (IDR) of ‘A’ in 2020& 2021by the leading global credit rating agency Fitch Ratings, and this achievement only demonstrates the bank’s resilience and efficiency. We are confident that through this partnership, we will be able to provide the essential support for SMEs and startups in Jafza based on quality and excellence.”



Accelerating the UAE’s rapidly advancing e-commerce ecosystem, Jafza, one of the largest free zone ecosystem for logistics and trade, has emerged as a destination for e-commerce fulfilment and sales in the Mena region.

The free trade zone recently showcased its exceptional performance in the region at Seamless Middle East 2021 and highlighted opportunities in e-commerce, retail and fintech solutions. It also presented its offerings for e-commerce fulfilment and discussed how changes to regulation and consumption demand create new opportunities for existing and new regional companies, said a statement by Jafza. 

“With the ever-changing business landscape, e-commerce has become an indispensable part of the global retail framework. Driven by ongoing digital transformation efforts and the UAE’s wise direction as part of the “Projects of the 50” principles, the country has remained at the forefront of the digital revolution. DP World, UAE Region has consistently complemented the national efforts, boosting the economy and delivering innovative solutions that help its continued growth. The pioneering facilities and services in Jafza already provide benefits to over 1,700 partners engaged in e-commerce. We will continue to optimise our ecosystem to offer an integrated digital experience from receiving to last-mile delivery. Our greater goal being underscoring Dubai’s long-term commitment of facilitating the growth of regional and global commerce,” said Damithan.

The e-commerce sector in the UAE has displayed immense potential, recording a market value of AED 14.3 billion in 2020 and a 53 per cent year-on-year increase. During the same period, Jafza itself contributed nearly 50 per cent of the trade value, witnessing a total trade of AED seven billion. The free zone leased almost four million sq m of space to local and global e-commerce companies, which is seven times the size of the total internal floor area of The Dubai Mall. Jafza provides flexible establishment options to set up operations into the free zone with zero disruption.

Jafza’s location, which provides businesses with a single customs-bonded area, connecting Al Maktoum International Airport (DWC) and Jebel Ali Port, creates an optimal environment for cross-border e-commerce activities. Retail and wholesale traders have seen a boom in online demand for goods which has led to an increase in the number of businesses in the e-commerce space and a transformation of business activities to focus on serving the customers.

Companies operating in Jafza can optimise consolidation and order fulfilment services for the Mena region while enjoying unparalleled connectivity and efficiency in logistics. All these factors translate to low-cost, time-effective fulfilment services and increased customer satisfaction, the statement said. 

Jafza, with the support of Dubai Trade, has developed digital logistics solutions that ensure efficient operations for partners in the free zone. These solutions helped e-commerce companies to function seamlessly despite the disruptions caused by the pandemic. 

Jafza has announced new offerings for e-commerce fulfilment companies, thus reaffirming its role in enabling wholesale and retail businesses and strengthening its position as the preferred free zone for e-commerce in the UAE, the GCC and the broader region. Fulfilment facilities range from 300 to 1,000 sq m, with flexible lease terms, helping companies establish and scale their businesses across the Mena region. Additionally, proximity to parcel delivery consolidation centres and e-commerce marketplaces like Amazon and Noon provides operators greater time flexibility and cost-efficiency. 

Jafza has also been closely collaborating with Dubai Customs to deliver its digital e-commerce platform that provides paperless cross-border transactions in compliance with regulations. 

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