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DP World to advise Azerbaijan government on Port of Baku free trade zone

DP World to advise Azerbaijan government on Port of Baku free trade zone
DP World has established another strategic Caspian Sea foothold on the “New Silk Road” after entering into an agreement to develop a free trade zone in Azerbaijan.

The Dubai-headquartered global terminal operator will provide advisory services to Azerbaijan’s Ministry of Economy and the Port of Baku to grow the Alyat Free Trade Zone.

DP World will initially advise on the free zone’s business plan, regulations governing special economic zones and a master plan for the first 4 sq km phase of the project which will eventually span 20 sq km.

Alyat Free Trade Zone is earmarked to become a key hub in a network of economic zones across Azerbaijan linked to the Eurasian trade corridor and the larger New Silk Road or One Belt, One Road (OBOR) alliance as it is more commonly referenced.  

The Eurasian Economic Union opens up a combined market of 180m people and a total GDP of almost US$6trn. It stands at the critical Asia-Europe crossroads of the OBOR route, the world’s largest economic corridor with a combined population of 4.4bn and economic output of $21trn, representing 40% of global GDP.

Those eye popping numbers make projects in countries like Azerbaijan a key strategic play for DP World which seemly expands at an almost daily rate; it operates 77 marine and inland terminals, supported by over 50 related businesses, in 40 countries across six continents.

It is already embedded on the Caspian, providing advisory services at the new Khorgos Special Economic Zone and Inland Container Depot in neighbouring Kazakhstan along with a similar arrangement under a separate contract for the Port of Aktau, the country’s main cargo and bulk terminal on the Caspian Sea.

The Khorgos SEZ is strategically located on the border with China, the initiator of the bold OBOR alliance which is being developed around the land-based “Silk Road Economic Belt” and the ocean-going “21st Century Maritime Silk Road”.

Group chairman and ceo Sultan Ahmed Bin Sulayem said DP World’s multi-modal transport, logistics and supply chain experience across its global portfolio made it particularly attractive to the governments of developing nations.

“Our flagship Jebel Ali Freezone (Jafza) in Dubai is a prime example together with our logistics facility at Caucedo in the Dominican Republic and the brand new logistics park at our London Gateway terminal, the largest in Europe. They demonstrate our ability to connect ports and industrial zones to encourage trade,” Sulayem said.

“I believe this experience will help the Port of Baku and Alyat Free Trade Zone to become an important logistic and transport hub between China and Europe. We are delighted to be involved as the principal advisor in this major project.”