Lack of commitment & bureaucracy hindering Aden’s progress [Archives:2004/782/Business & Economy]

October 18 2004

Tony P Restall
International Free Zone Specialist
[email protected]

I regularly read your editorials every week and noted your attention to the comparison between Dubai and Aden in a recent editorial.
Having recently completed an assignment for the EU – European Union to support the Aden Free Zone, I am now able to comment freely (under my EU Contract I was not permitted to communicate my opinions to the national media).
I commenced my EU Contract in Feb of 2002 having been working in the Middle East Free Zone & Port Industry since 1976. In fact, I was on the original team that put the Jebel Ali Free Zone together and launched it to the international market.
Whilst working for the Dubai Government it was always our main concern if Aden/Yemen ever activated a Free Zone and Commercial Hub Operation in Aden it would pose a significant threat to Jebel Ali Free Zone.
The very size of container ships has changed over the last 20 years (increasing in size by 450%). Limited port calls now dictate that places such as Salalah (who took the initiative) will benefit immensely.
What stops Aden from becoming another Great Free Port – is perhaps politics and a lack of commitment. Look at the sad tale of the Aden Free Zone – a bureaucratic nightmare that everyone acknowledged was a disaster but did nothing about.
It was truly shameful! I have worked amongst you, and know what life is throwing at Yemenis everyday.
Believe in yourself and cut through all the red tape and your dreams can become a reality.
After all – When we sold Jebel Ali Free Zone – We were selling a Dream! – The Disney Land of Middle East Investment.
Aden has some of the best undeveloped Port Real Estate I have ever seen (better than Hong Kong, Singapore and definitely better than Dubai).
Recently, in Dubai they sold 7,000 Properties in a single day, that was truly amazing!
What is Yemen waiting for?
I will continue to read your articles in the hope that one day, God will give his attention to the plight, to prevent the demise of poor Aden City.