International firms registered in the Freezone have collectively grown the value of their exported and imported goods by AED 164 billion in 2012, in comparison to AED 95 billion in 2011.
Additionally in 2012, DAFZA saw the number of construction and engineering companies increase by more than a third (37 per cent). This figure directly reflects increasing investment in Middle Eastern construction projects, according to a report issued by Bank of America Merrill Lynch. Total investment in construction projects in the Middle East is expected to jump to US$ 4.2 trillion by 2020, with the UAE enjoying the biggest chunk, valued at US$ 698 billion.
The jewellery industry also witnessed an increase in demand of more than 60 per cent in 2011, according to recent reports. This increase was reflected in DAFZA’s investments as the number of tenants operating in this industry increased by a staggering 140 per cent throughout 2012.
Dubai Airport Freezone issued 201 licenses for global organisations to operate within the Freezone. The number of registered UK companies also saw an increase of 25 per cent.
“Dubai Airport Freezone has proven its unrivalled capability in attracting international companies which add value to the local economy and consolidate Dubai’s status in the global markets as a business hub,” said His Highness Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed al Maktoum, Chairman of Dubai Airport Freezone, “We will continue to provide DAFZA with all the support it needs to ensure that it continues to rank among the top global free zones.”
DAFZA's Director General, Dr. Mohammed Al Zarooni, said that these results show the excellent progress being made in DAFZA’s objective to attract and support foreign companies within the Freezone. He said, “The Freezone’s strategic location, next door to Dubai International Airport, has given it unique strength and made it a favorite place for foreign companies. The availability of many facilities, hassle-free procedures and investment opportunities has secured its place as a significant contributor to the country’s growth.
“We have worked hard to continuously develop the investment climate by training our workforce to best serve clients and satisfy investors,” he added. “After a successful 17 years, DAFZA has become one of the most experienced authorities in attracting foreign capital.”
Dr. Al Zarooni explained that Freezone companies, currently standing at more than 1,600 from around the world, cover with a diverse spectrum of industries that meet the needs of the Middle Eastern and African markets. He believes this alignment will in turn lead to on-going business integration and boost economic relationships between the UAE and other countries worldwide.
Dr. Al Zarooni said: “In 2013 we plan to continue improving the Free zone as we work to facilitate our tenants’ business operations. We are currently in the process of building a project inclusive of: a food court with mixed use recreational business facilities, seven floors dedicated to new offices for international organizations and a building dedicated to DAFZA’s strategic partners from various governmental institutions. The main power station will increase capacity by 40 per cent to accommodate this growth.
“Additionally, we will be adding a multi-storey car park with a capacity for 850 cars, catering to our tenants’ needs. The project is planned to exceed more than AED 300 million, for a total building area of 70,000 sqm. Phase one is expected to be completed in 2015.”
DAFZA also continued to successfully build upon its economic relationships, by developing strategic partnerships with global companies to enhance its international status and broaden its reach. DAFZA held a number of bilateral agreements with different entities which included Dallas Fort Worth Airport and HSBC Bank to introduce additional financing solutions for foreign investors and give them better access to international banks through the HSBC network. DAFZA is also in the process of finalising cooperation agreements with national entities such as Dubai Chamber of Commerce and DU, the telecommunications provider, which will work to enhance DAFZA’s local facilities for tenants.
DAFZA was recognized with nine international awards in 2012. These awards included the American Richard Goodman Strategic Planning Award, the number one Free Zone in the World by Foreign Direct Investment (fDi) magazine, the Quality and Distinctive Performance Award, the Comprehensive Quality in Client Satisfaction Award, as well as the world’s premier business awards, the Stevie Awards, in three different categories: new services and products award, best IT department award and the best marketing department award. DAFZA also obtained the ISO:50001 certificate in energy management as it managed to reduce energy consumption by eight per cent; and ISO:28000 for its effective security management.