DAFZA launches ‘MENA’s first’ e-commerce free zone

An aerial view of the Dubai CommerCity development
An aerial view of the Dubai CommerCity development

Dubai Airport Freezone Authority (DAFZA), has launched the Middle East and North Africa region’s first free zone dedicated to e-commerce in Umm Ramool.

Dubai CommerCity, an AED 2.7 billion, 2.1 million square feet joint venture between DAFZA and wasl Asset Management Group, has been set up with the aim of promoting the emirate’s status as a leading platform for international e-commerce and to support economic diversification and smart transformation strategies.

The project aims to provide an environment that stimulates creativity and attracts more direct foreign investment in line with Dubai Plan 2021, which aims to create a unique and sustainable economy based on innovation.

The new free zone is strategically located near the Dubai International Airport, well connected to major local and national highways, and will provide direct access for e-commerce stakeholders in the MENA and South Asia regions.

It also aims to offer “world-class” cargo and logistics services and an “integrated and sophisticated” infrastructure with easy access to land and seaports, enabling swift and efficient distribution and delivery of services.

Dafza chairman H.H. Sheikh Ahmed Bin Saeed Al Maktoum expressed his confidence that the joint venture will add a new dimension to Dubai’s commercial activity and will help attract more direct foreign investments to the emirate.

His Highness emphasised that Dubai free zones enjoy flexible and adaptable legislation and business systems – unique features that empower economic clusters and accelerate their growth. He added that free zones also play strategic roles locally and regionally in enhancing global trade routes and supply chains.

H.E. Dr. Mohammed Al Zarooni, director general of DAFZA, said, “Dubai CommerCity will enhance the role of e-commerce as a key driver of Dubai’s sustainable economy. DAFZA will apply its leading experiences and services based on comprehensive studies on the future of e-commerce in the MENA region. Dubai CommerCity complements the expansion plans and achievements led by DAFZA aimed at attracting foreign direct investments to Dubai, driven by its vision, ‘The free zone that goes beyond,’ in cooperation with wasl Asset Management Group with which we have a successful partnership.

“Through Dubai CommerCity, we aim to play an organisational, operational and knowledge-based role that will contribute to the building of a new world-class free zone and the creation of a unified platform for government, administrative, customs and logistics services that meet the needs of the e-commerce sector, in response to the vision of the wise leadership of achieving sustainable development.”

Dubai CommerCity spans a total area of 427,000 square metres inclusive of office spaces and logistics units covering 207,000 square metres; a total leasable area of 176,000 square metres; and infrastructure and parking areas over 220,000 square metres, with 4,000 parking slots for its customers.

The project, which will be implemented in two phases, is intended to be a comprehensive and modern system that supports the e-commerce sector and meets the current and future needs of logistics, electronic payments, IT solutions, customer services, and other related businesses.

The new free zone will also drive steadily growing private investment activities supporting the region’s start-ups, which have already exceeded $870 million.

Over the next five years, the e-commerce sector is projected to account for 10 percent of Dubai’s retail sales, which are in turn expected to reach AED 200 billion by the end of 2017.

Dubai CommerCity is committed to reducing the UAE carbon footprint by 25 percent by 2030 through the reduction of electricity consumption by using solar energy; and lowering water wastage by 40 percent through the treatment of polluted water and the collection and reuse of storm water.

Strategies also include the reduction of pollution and implementation of global environmental standards related to the construction of light industrial units and buildings as well as the use of environmentally friendly building materials and recycled resources.

DAFZA has also signed a memorandum of understanding with the Arab Federation for e-Commerce, a specialised organization under the Arab League’s Council of Arab Economic Unity, stipulating cooperation with Arab governments in developing and harmonising legislation and laws designed to facilitate the practice of e-commerce and drive the growth of the digital economy.


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