Dubai Maritime City set to make waves
Over the last five years, Dubai has announced its desire to be a
global city through a raft of challenging construction projects.
Now, however, the emirate is capitalising on its nautical
heritage with yet another world-first conception that will not
only enhance its position within the UAE but also its status as
a trade link between Europe and Asia.
Dubai Maritime City (DMC) will be the world's first
purpose-built city for the global maritime community and will
offer a mixed-use environment that covers industrial, commercial
and leisure requirements for maritime businesses. Located
between Port Rashid and Dubai Dry Docks, DMC is being built on a
man-made peninsula spread over 2.27 million m2.
Comprising of six distinct districts with 19 towers in total,
DMC will meet all the modern requirements of a maritime base. As its
focal point the Maritime Centre will feature five office towers -
all designed and developed by DMC - plus the 230m Landmark Tower,
the design of which will be decided following a competition
featuring four leading architectural firms. Harbour Offices will
offer a strong commercial base located at the entrance of the city;
Harbour Residences will provide freehold residential accommodation;
Academic Quarter will provide maritime training and research for the
Middle East; Marina District will be a cluster of mixed-use activity
areas including dry boat storage facilities, while Jadaf Dubai will
be a dedicated purpose-built industrial area.
Currently located at Dubai Creek, Jadaf Dubai is one of the oldest
ship repair yards in the Arabian Gulf, and the DMC is designed to
transform the new yard into a state-of-the-art facility featuring
dry and wet berthing facilities. When relocated in the industrial
area of DMC, it will occupy just under half of its 2.4 million m2 in
total, forming a cornerstone of the entire development.
Amer Ali, Dubai Maritime City project manager, explains how the need
for a new, modern yard generated the idea of a maritime city: "Dubai
Maritime City was created in response to the need to relocate
Dubai's oldest ship repair facility, Jadaf Dubai. This relocation
became the inspiration for an entire city to cater to the needs and
requirements of not just Dubai's, but all maritime businesses
The driving force was to create something unique, a fully-equipped
multi-dimensional maritime complex that hasn't been seen before.
"While we did undertake studies of existing clusters and their
dynamics, ongoing dialogue with industry professionals has also been
an important component of developing this project," says Ali.
The city will also play its part in meeting the inevitable
demand for nautical facilities as Dubai continues to expand,
especially with its emphasis on waterfront projects such as the
Palms' Jumeirah, Jebel Ali and Deira. "Dubai Maritime City was
planned to provide relocation for Jadaf and further strengthen and
support the maritime industry, not just in Dubai but globally. But
it was also created to service and support waterfront developments
in Dubai and the predicted growth in the leisure marine industry,"
When completed, the total expected population inclusive of people
who will live and work there will be over 100,000. Plans also
include berthing facilities for more than 100 yachts.
Construction on the industrial areas began in mid-September 2006,
which included civil works for berths, a ship transfer pit and other
basic infrastructure works. The contractor for all infrastructure
work in the industrial area is Bin Hafeez.
The scope of construction work comprised earthworks, associated
structural walls and piles. The construction of the dry berth area
encompassed 144,792 m2 while the total area of the transfer pits is
67,805 m2. The shipyard substructure will encompass in-situ cast
reinforced concrete foundation with shear keys and structural walls
for mounting steel rails. The total length of these rails is 39,462
The second phase of industrial infrastructure construction work got
underway in November 2006 with the development of civil, electrical
and mechanical components. This phase encompassed 240,000 m3 of
concrete, including landscaping, gravel infill and block paving.
"Also, piling works for both the central administration building and
the shiplift control tower, which will oversee the complete shiplift
facilities, have been completed," says Ali.
One of the key features of the industrial sector will be two
shiplifts situated adjacent to each other. Manufactured by
Hydraudyne Rexroth, one will be 90m long and 25m wide - designed to
lift vessels up to 3000 tonnes - while the other will be 140m long
and 30m wide and designed to lift boats up to 6000 tonnes. Both
shiplifts will be capable of 14m vertical travel and the platforms
and vessels will be raised and lowered by a series of winches and
steel ropes along the length of the lift.
"The current focus is on building and placement of the ship lifts,
and having completed the construction of the first (3000 tonnes)
ship lift in November, work on the second lift (6000 tonnes) is
currently progressing. In addition to that, dry berth facilities and
full completion of the quay wall has been a key focus. Final
preparations are being made for the launch of tower plots and
commencement of piling for the Maritime Centre," says Ali.
Approximately 2kms of the 3km quay wall has been completed
(requiring 7,779 blocks being laid at 40-45 blocks a day), all
reclamation works and breakwaters have also been completed, while
90% of the ground improvement works are finished.
The multi-faceted aspect of construction is one of the most complex
Dubai has seen, acknowledges Ali - hardly surprising considering the
scale of the development, the complexity of operating on reclaimed
land, coupled with a diverse range of engineering skill sets and the
construction of shear walls, quay walls, dry berths and other
nautical facilities required in any maritime development.
Meteorological concerns add a further dimension to the development,
with wind direction and behaviour a key factor in the early stages
of the project.
There is also the logistical task of juggling numerous contractors
involved in the project. Besides Bin Hafeez, Amana is the main
contractor for DMC, Arabtec is working on the administration
buildings, while Besix is overseeing the entire road network.
With DMC, Dubai appears to be covering all bases as it continues to
diversify away from an oil-based economy. By strengthening its trade
and commerce potential. DMC will complement the already existing Dry
Docks and Port Rashid, while at the same time create a homogenous
maritime community. A clear signal that once again, there is, or
certainly will be, more substance to the emirate than one might