The Emirate of Sharjah is characterized by the presence of advanced sea ports such as Port Khalid and Hamriyah Port on the west coast of the Arabian Gulf, and the port of Khor Fakkan on the east coast of the Gulf of Oman. The value of GDP of the Emirate was 24,054 million dirhams in 2001 which increased to 71,994 million dirhams in 2008, and the value of total foreign trade was AED 60.5 billion in 2009, with the value of imports standing at 39.7 billion dirhams, constituting 65.6% of the total value of foreign trade. Exports amounted to AED 1.7 billion, and re-export trade valued at 16.7 billion dirhams, and together formed a proportion of 30.4%. The value of transit trade amounted to 2.3 billion AED, 3.8% of the total value of foreign trade during the year.
Uniquely located on world trade routes and the only Emirate with direct access to both the Arabian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman, the development of ports on both coasts has largely contributed to the growth of Sharjah as a trading cum cargo hub and a commercial maritime centre. Sharjah International Airport is situated ten minutes away from the centre of the city and has recently undergone a major expansion to keep pace with the increasing number of passengers and growing cargo business. In 2003, Air Arabia was ranked the first low-cost airline to be launched in the Middle East and North Africa region and now flies to over 60 destinations. In early 2009 Air Arabia Maroc began operations from Casablanca airport providing services domestically in Morocco and throughout Europe.
Sharjah’s free zones and three seaports have contributed significantly to the unprecedented growth of Sharjah’s economy. As a prime cargo hub, the ports reflect the emirate’s long-standing reputation as a major maritime trading centre. Port Khalid, in Sharjah city has a total of 21 berths and can handle a wide variety of tonnage, ranging from tankers, container vessels, car carriers, passenger ships, heavy lift ships, bulk carriers as well as many small vessels such as supply boats, tugs and barges. The deepening of berths is currently underway to cater for deeper draft vessels. Twenty Kilometres north of Port Khalid is Hamriyah Port and Free Zone, a flourishing and expanding port and industrial centre. Port Khor Fakkan on the east coast is connected by a modern highway to the industrial and urban centres of the UAE’s Gulf Coast and has a dedicated container port and trans-shipment hub.
The two free zones, Hamriyah Free Zone Authority and Sharjah Airport International Free Zone have served the Emirate well, bolstering investment and trade by offering companies incentives of 100% foreign ownership, exemption from taxes and 100% repatriation of capital and profits. Sharjah facilitates businesses through the establishment of Free Zones, with some zoned for factories and others for exhibitions and warehouses. You can get Company Formation in Sharjah in easy steps. In fact, with 48 percent of the UAE’s total industrial revenue, Sharjah ranks first among the seven emirates in this sector. Sharjah also enjoys a cost effective advantage, with industrial investment costs 34 percent lower than in other emirates, and the Government of Sharjah bears 70 percent of the real cost of consumption of energy, water and electricity. With its specially modified legislation and lower costs, Sharjah aims to make conducting business within the emirate as streamlined and cost effective as possible, building lasting relationships with its trade partners.
The UAE’s strategic location between Asia, Europe and Africa is a major advantage to investors, particularly the country’s proximity to some of the world’s fastest growing economies in Asia. India and China collectively comprise almost 40% percent of the world’s total population and support and combined GDP in excess of US$5 trillion, providing significant economic and trading opportunities.
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