Samir is the Chief Executive Officer of Khalifa Industrial Zone Abu Dhabi (KIZAD), a subsidiary of Abu Dhabi Ports,since September 2018.
In his role, Mr.Chaturvedi oversees KIZAD’s portfolio of assets, activities, operations and growth strategy.
Mr.Chaturvedi brings over 35 years’ experience working with global organisations in the field of logistics, shipping, supply chain management, automotive, infrastructure and real estate development.
He is an alumnus of Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design (GSD), the Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport (CILT) UK, and Annamalai University India.
Q. Please provide our readers with a brief overview of KIZAD
A. KIZAD is one of the world’s foremost port-integrated industrial zones and a leading hub for manufacturing, logistics and trade across diverse sectors. Unveiled in 2010, it became operational in 2012 and forms a core pillar of Abu Dhabi Economic Vision 2030, which seeks to diversify the Emirate’s economy. In that regard, KIZAD is helping Abu Dhabi move away from hydrocarbon dependence to ensure a strong, sustainable economy.
By investing in infrastructure, technologies and innovation, local and international talent, KIZAD aims to be the destination of choice for companies looking to set up their manufacturing and logistics base in the region. Our focus is to provide an ecosystem where the customers can avail advantages of optimal cost, speed and scale for their operations.
KIZAD, along with its parent company, Abu Dhabi Ports, currently contribute 3.6% (AED19.6 billion) to Abu Dhabi’s non-oil GDP. We expect that by 2030, our contribution to the non-oil GDP will reach 15%. To date, more than 400 companies call KIZAD home.
Q. Could you brief our readers on the major initiatives and developments that have happened under your watch?
A. The past year has witnessed several positive developments for KIZAD.
The launch of our Polymers Park, which is estimated to produce 300-400 kilo tonnes of plastic products a year, and contribute around $2.5 billion to GDP by 2025 was a significant achievement.
In the third quarter of 2018, we launched KIZAD Entrepreneurship and Incubation Centre (KEIC) offering cost effective work spaces and licensing options to SME’s and we have witnessed a strong response to this offering.
Last year also saw the development and launch of Free Zone Warehousing and Light Industrial Units, which was
similarly well-received by the market.
We are currently working on many projects to support our customer’s growth. These projects include on-site residences, an amenities centre, and focused clusters for metal and food industries. We are also streamlining our processes with automation and simplification of licensing and approval processes to help boost efficiency while reducing operational costs.
Q. With multiple and similar zones operating in the region, what steps has KIZAD taken to ensure that, while complementing the other zones, it also distinguishes itself and stands apart?
A. The rise in industrial development in the UAE and across the region gives KIZAD the unique opportunity to collaborate with and complement regional partners in boosting the industrial sector while solidifying the UAE’s position as a prime location for those seeking to tap this growth.
For investors, KIZAD offers a unique and strategic location between Abu Dhabi and Dubai. What also distinguishes KIZAD from other industrial, logistics, and manufacturing zones is that it’s not hindered by urban congestion or ageing infrastructure. It boasts modern and state of the art road networks and highways, sea, air and future rail connectivity to the UAE and GCC.
Q. In your opinion, which type of investor should look at investing in KIZAD and why?
A.KIZAD is being built as a complete industrial and business ecosystem, offering diverse opportunities for companies of varying sizes and activities. At the base level, we have an Incubation Center (KEIC) for start-ups and small businesses, pre-built warehouses and light industrial units, for those who want to minimise their set-up time and also large serviced land plots for companies who want to build their facilities. Moreover, we are continuously working with our customers to customise the offering based on their specific infrastructure and other requirements.
Q. Conversely, is KIZAD actively promoting investment in any particular industry sectors?
A. In line with Abu Dhabi’s Economic Vision 2030, KIZAD targets nine areas of industry, of which seven form our immediate focus. The first five are polymers, ferrous and non-ferrous metals, food, oil and gas, and automotive. Alongside these, we are focusing on companies in logistics and utilities because these two industries support the other industries.
One of the attractions of KIZAD to these businesses is that we allocate land to investors by grouping industries and service providers together based on how well they can benefit one another. As a result, those from the same industry can create value by leveraging on synergies.
Q. What are the specific benefits obtained by investors into KIZAD?
A. There are numerous benefits to investors in KIZAD, including its location between eastern and western markets connecting investors to 4.5 billion consumers. A key benefit I would highlight however is that KIZAD is intrinsically an industrial ecosystem linked to the Khalifa Port, one of the world’s most advanced deep-sea ports and the region’s first semi-automated port. The port can accommodate the largest ships to ensure easy import of bulk raw materials and export of finished goods. For an investor, having Khalifa Port, with over 1,000 port-to-port connections and served by all major shipping lines, enables the convenient domestic and international shipment of products.
Q. What developments are planned for KIZAD over the next five years?
A. Our focus in the next five years will be around strengthening the core infrastructure and building the wider ecosystem with key social and business support services. On the infrastructure side, we will be setting up a gas pipeline network to provide multiple energy sources for our customers. We are also enhancing the existing roads and utilities corridors while developing the master plan for the future areas of development. Other planned developments include on-site residences, amenities centre with petrol station, truck parking and repair facilities, convenience retail and food outlets, a mosque and a hotel. We are also working on developing offices and our new headquarters and the master planning for the next phase
of development is currently underway. Simultaneously the phased development of our pre-built warehouses and light industrial units will continue to cater to the growing demand in those areas. Lastly, Etihad Rail linking with KIZAD will be a significant milestone not just for KIZAD but for the UAE as a whole.
Q. Would you like to tell us something about your journey so far and how this has moulded you?
A. I see myself as a die-hard optimist, a true believer in the collaborative strength of people and happy with the simple pleasures of life. All this is a sum of what I have experienced in my own family, the organisations I have worked with, great co-workers and people that I have interacted with over my life.
I was fortunate to have a large and very happy family, great mentors and colleagues at work and many friends and guides who influenced me. The positive energy of this country and the focus of the leadership towards creating a better tomorrow has been a major influence on me during my 18 years in the UAE.
Q. How do you achieve work life balance? Would you like to tell us about your other interests and passions?
A. When what you do is so exciting, the vision you are driven by is so powerful and opportunities so great, the question of work-life balance never crops up. Life is dynamic, and your passions also change with time. Currently, my passion is this team that is working towards developing KIZAD to reach its enormous potential. Making an impact on this economy and to the lives of people who have invested here, who live and work here is what drives me.
Other than that, there are so many things to do and so much to see in this world. I have been riding motorbikes for over 35 years and touring the world on two wheels still excites me.