10.6% rise in retail, e-commerce firms witnessed by Jebel Ali Free Zone

By Rahul Vaimal, Associate Editor
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Jafza Jebel Ali Free Zone
Representational Image

Despite the sudden challenges faced by both regional and global economies, the Jebel Ali Free Zone (Jafza) recorded 10.6 percent growth in the retail and e-commerce sector with a total trade value of $10.2 billion.

More than 1,000 companies from 96 countries across the world operate in Jafza’s retail and general trading sector. Middle Eastern firms form 39 percent of these initiatives followed by Asia (30 percent), Europe 15 percent), North America (9 percent), Africa at 7 percent and Oceana firms occupying 1 percent of firms.

In total, these firms employ more than 10,000 personnel and operate across combined facilities that are nearly two million square meters.

Despite the decline of business activity in the region, the shift in technology has introduced a new market segment. The retail community can count on Jafza to support their end-to-end logistics needs through its digital innovations. Jafza improves the flow of sea-to-air cargo by eliminating the processes of exit and entry from one zone to another.

Mohammed Al Muallem
Mohammed Al Muallem
CEO of Jafza
CEO and MD, DP World – UAE

“The e-commerce business sector was issued the highest number of licenses in the UAE, during May 2020. The first five months saw a 300 percent increase in consumer demand for e-commerce services. The recent pandemic has caused a shift in consumer buying habits, a behavior that impacted a positive outcome proving that the internet is the major catalyst in shaping human lives and digital profiles. DP World has introduced Manasah, an online platform targeting retail in the UAE and the Digital Freight Alliance with its global imprint, an internet marketplace for small- to medium-sized enterprises. We are working closely with these retailers to help transfer their stores into online platforms. Further studies need to be done to evaluate and plan a rebound of the economy keeping in mind that online shopping is a natural progression and is now a part of nearly every consumer’s life. We see greater importance on technology-enabled solutions as well to ensure safety across the supply chain.”

In addition to the flexibility and trade facilitation under one single window “Dubai Trade”, Jafza offers a tax-free business environment with reputable regulatory bodies. It also allows existing business owners to apply for additional licenses, making them dual business license owners.

Jafza recently announced the “Jafza Customer Support Initiative” with a 50 to 70 percent reduction of registration, licensing and related administration functions fees in Jafza as well as for new investors. A range of online services is offered free of cost as a direct result of the on-going digitalization process.

“Such effective initiatives aim to assist more than the 8,000 businesses that operate out of Jafza and hundreds of new businesses attracted by the premier Free Zone’s plug and play infrastructure and solutions for trade,” Mr. Al Muallem noted.