UAE is expected to record a steady rise in trade of 4.35 per cent year on year in 2017, driven by a 5 per cent growth in imports and exports of 3.7 per cent, according to a BMI report published recently.

The report sees positive economic growth for the UAE over the next five years due to its plans to diversify the economy through the development of trade, the service sector and tourism.

Recent forecasts for growth in UAE trade are set to benefit the country’s logistics sector according to DP World Group chairman and CEO Sultan Ahmed Bin Sulayem. He said these trends will further encourage prospects for the logistics, warehousing and handling sector increasing demand and attracting more businesses to the country who will need logistics support.

He highlighted the importance of the logistics sector in Jafza, and Dubai as a pillar of the economy with trade partners in the GCC, West Asia, Africa, India and China broadening the opportunities for logistics companies operating in the Free Zone. The strategic location of Jebel Ali Port and the Free Zone with modern warehouses and a range of incentives supports the development of transport and logistics sector with companies aiming to reach their target markets in the greater Mena Region.

There are currently 328 logistics companies from 29 countries operating within Jebel Ali Free Zone. They lease 4.2 million sq m of mixed use facilities, including 4.13 million sq m as land; 85,700 sq m of warehouse and light industrial units and 1,600 sq m of showrooms and offices.

Bin Sulayem said: “The ongoing investments and expansions at Jebel Ali Port and Free Zone aim to maintain our competitiveness globally, strengthening the country›s position as a global and regional business hub and a centre for trade. This will open up new markets for companies operating in Jafza and Dubai.”

Jafza recently launched 110 new rental warehouses to meet the integrated needs of the supply chain and logistics sector, enabling companies to improve their distribution to regional markets and to serve their logistics requirements.

These include the iron and building materials sector; FMCG companies, electronics and auto parts businesses. The new warehouses are divided into two sections: 51 warehouses with an area of 702 sq m and 59 warehouses with an area of 349 sq m, allowing companies to choose space to suit their needs.