Aden the road to the world of investment and commerce [Archives:2004/758/Business & Economy]

July 26 2004

Yasser Mohammed Al-Mayyasi
Since ancient time, Aden has played an important role as an economic and commercial port in the southern part of the Arabian Peninsula and as a destination that serves as a meeting point in world trade. At the beginning of the second half of the nineteenth century, Aden began to regain important ground towards bearing its vital role as a major international trade port. It has rapidly developed since then, to become one of the most important seaports in the world. The importance of Aden as a seaport is due to its unique geographical location, and the naturally suitable environment has contributed in the rapid transformation of Aden into one of the best seaports, in a century and half.
After achieving independence from British colonization and after the unification of Yemen twenty years later, Aden port began to surface as a major issue, deserving of special priority, especially after Aden became the official commercial and economic capital of the Republic of Yemen. The announcement of the establishment of a free zone in Aden city over an area of 31 hectares, laid the foundations commencing serious development of Aden city and Aden port in all aspects of development.
Loading and unloading activities increased by one hundred percent at a rate of 20 containers an hour immediately after construction of the container port at the Caltex region with an operation capacity of 500,000 containers per annum. The rate of berthing giant vessels increased as well. The area of the free zone was divided into fifteen areas, most importantly Aden port, container port, airport, air cargo village, heavy and light industries, petrochemical areas and tourism areas.
During the past eight years, the Free Zone management board implemented a number of vital projects that included surveying and developing the area, establishing a special security force for the port, the construction and asphalting of roads, installation of street lights, establishing the air cargo village, the industrial and tourist regions in addition to carrying our effective marketing and promotion campaigns.
Despite the immense movement and activities that Aden witnessed during the past period until the year 2001, where some 8660 ships in a variety of sizes, types and activities had entered the container port, the level of activities at Aden port dropped following the incidents to USS Cole and the French Limburg oil carrier. The announcement by insurance companies of increased insurance rates on various ships going to Yemeni ports including Aden port only exacerbated the situation.
The Yemeni government was compelled to deposit a US$500 million as a bank guarantee to insurance companies in order to lure shipping companies to resume their activities to Aden port.
The number of ships reported to have anchored at Aden port during the period January-April 2004 was 107 ships in comparison to only 50 ships for the same period in 2003. The number of containers during January to April 2004 was 242962 in comparison to 20600 containers for the same period in 2003.