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Bechtel’s Impact Report

Khalifa Port and Kizad

United Arab Emirates
Aerial view of Khalifa Port

Abu Dhabi Ports Company trusted Bechtel to manage the emirate's largest infrastructure effort, geared to drive sustainable economic growth for decades

Bechtel oversaw master planning, design, and construction of a massive port-and-industrial-zone program. We delivered on time and within budget both onshore and offshore infrastructure that will help to foster Abu Dhabi's economic diversification.

The company estimates that Khalifa Port and the Khalifa Industrial Zone Abu Dhabi (Kizad) together will create some 100,000 jobs and contribute 15 percent of the emirate's non-oil GDP by 2030.

Our project team built Khalifa's offshore port and terminal complex by creating an artificial island in the gulf with an area in excess of a square mile (about 2.8 square kilometers) more than 3 miles (some 5 kilometers) from shore.

Creating jobs

At peak construction, more than 16,000 craft workers tackled the immense project. The fleet for handling landfill alone included:

  • 400 22-wheel trailers
  • 120 bulldozers
  • 60 wheel loaders
  • 25 rollers
  • 25 graders
  • 40 water tankers 

All of the vehicles shared a single-lane access road into and out of the site—a major logistical challenge.

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Inside the project

The Khalifa program included constructing a vast port island, a breakwater, causeways and bridges from the island to a new onshore port, the onshore port itself, and an industrial zone for commercial and manufacturing facilities.​​ The port's strategic location offers the industrial zone's tenants unprecedented access to global markets. 

We built the port on reclaimed land and had to raise the ground level for portions of the industrial zone by the height of a typical residential ceiling, using more than a half million cubic yards (nearly 400,000 cubic meters) of sand and other material.

The industrial zone―which covers more than 160 square miles (more than 400 square kilometers)―includes one of the world's 10 largest aluminum smelters and will host processing facilities for other industries, from steel and glass to pharmaceuticals and petrochemicals.

Khalifa Port and the associated industrial zone play an important role in diversifying the economy and industrial base not only of Abu Dhabi but the United Arab Emirates as a whole.

It draws on electricity from a combined-cycle gas-turbine power plant completed in 2000 by a partnership of Bechtel and Hitachi Zosen—the Al Taweelah B Extension Project.

Award-winning environmental work

Our customer, Abu Dhabi Ports Company, earned a number of awards for the project and its commitment to the environment and sustainability. Most notable were honors for a breakwater to protect the Ras Ghanada coral reef, the largest in the gulf region, home to wildlife ranging from turtles and dugongs to clown fish and sea snakes.

Partnership with INJAZ

As part of our worldwide partnership with Junior Achievement and its UAE branch, INJAZ, Bechtel and Abu Dhabi Ports Company hosted, at the job site, a group of Emirati students from the Higher Colleges of Technology. The students gained an understanding of how a world-class port works as well as how Abu Dhabi plans to develop a knowledge-based, sustainable economy.

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Commemorative stamps

In 2015 the Emirates Post Group issued a set of commemorative stamps on Key Strategic Projects of President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan. One of the four major projects featured is Khalifa Port, the other three are Etihad Rail, Masdar City and Shams 1 Solar Power Plant.

Each of these projects has a strong historical significance, and herald a big leap for the UAE in four different fields. We are pleased to preserve these projects for posterity through these stamps that will carry their legacy to the whole world — Ibrahim bin Karam, Chief Commercial Officer, EPG.

Stamps are available from the Emirates Post Group.
Images courtesy of Emirates Post Group.