Since the U.A.E.’s formation in 1971, the country’s leadership has made significant investments in the construction of world-class ports, airports, roads, power plants, logistics facilities, and other infrastructure. These far-sighted investments have reaped enormous dividends, transforming the U.A.E. into the business, trade, travel, tourism, and transshipment hub for the greater MENA region.
In the development of its infrastructure, the U.A.E. has long turned to leading U.S. companies. For example, AECOM has been involved in the construction of the U.A.E.’s national railway (Etihad Rail), Abu Dhabi International Airport, and Saadiyat Island. Bechtel, in turn, has contributed to work at the Dubai International Airport and Khalifa Industrial Zone Abu Dhabi (KIZAD). Meanwhile, Parsons has worked on Abu Dhabi’s highway system and the Dubai Metro as well as Abu Dhabi International Airport, Etihad Rail, and Saadiyat Island. And, Jacobs and its predecessor CH2M have worked on Etihad Rail, the Dubai Metro, and the site of Expo2020 Dubai.
While leading U.S. companies have helped build much of the infrastructure that has made the U.A.E. what it is today, many more U.S. companies have been attracted by this infrastructure to establish operations in the country. For example, Jebel Ali Free Zone (JAFZA), which was created in 1985 to promote trade and support container throughput at the Jebel Ali Port, counts many prominent U.S. companies among the 8,600 companies from 100 countries that now call it home. Additionally, many leading American companies are now establishing operations at Dubai South, a new free zone located at what will become the world’s largest airport.
At the same time that U.S. companies have helped develop the U.A.E.’s infrastructure, U.A.E. companies have made important investments in U.S. infrastructure. Sharjah-based Gulftainer has invested billions of dollars in the Ports of Wilmington, Delaware and Cape Canaveral, Florida. In Delaware, Gulftainer’s investment is creating thousands of local jobs and boosting the port’s shipping volume.
The U.S.-U.A.E. Business Council strengthens bilateral ties in the infrastructure and logistics sectors by helping make its members aware of upcoming infrastructure tenders, supporting their bids, and facilitating connections with relevant private sector entities and government authorities through events with entities including the U.A.E. Ministry of Energy and Infrastructure and Dubai Electricity and Water Authority. At the same time, the Business Council regularly highlights how the U.A.E.’s world-class infrastructure creates a favorable environment for U.S. firms though activities such as hosting Dubai FDI delegations of leading U.A.E. free zones to the U.S., bringing U.S. companies to free zones such as Dubai South in the U.A.E., and through engagement with Gulftainer and the Delaware region. The Business Council has also highlighted the importance of U.S.-U.A.E. ties in infrastructure through webinars with logistics executives and free zone leaders.