Recognised the world over as a centre for global trade and enterprise, Dubai has built a reputation for a strong economy and a legal and regulatory system that supports both local and international businesses. Dubai’s role in building international trade ties stretches back thousands of years when it began to develop its reputation as a city of merchants. The trading of pearls -- going back to Roman times -- attracted visitors to the region in droves. Since then, Dubai has worked ceaselessly to build its profile as a meeting point for international trade in a whole host of commodities. Today is no different.
The new 60 million sq. ft Traders’ Market within the Jebel Ali Free Zone – also known as Jafza – is the latest chapter in Dubai’s history of fostering trade between East and West. A partnership between DP World and China Commodity City will bring to life the very first free-zone hybrid retail and wholesale marketplace in the region. It will house 20,000 traders and tenants, giving businesses access to cutting-edge trading infrastructure and technology.
The location is arguably one of its key advantages. Dubai already enjoys world-renowned transport links ranging from its city-wide metro system to substantial aviation capabilities. The new Traders’ Market will complement this, situated just 10 minutes from Al Maktoum International Airport, the world’s third busiest hub for international air freight. Al Maktoum International handles more than 2.5 million tonnes from more than 260 locations across the globe, with further air links available at Dubai International Airport. These air links are significant from a buyers’ perspective, with some 2.2 billion people able to reach Dubai by plane within six hours or less.
With the new Traders’ Market also just a stone’s throw from Jafza, the new market will enhance Dubai’s place as a key player in China’s Belt and Road initiative. The new marketplace allows buyers to enjoy discounted wholesale prices and the ability to achieve delivery in short lead times. Its location within the Jebel Ali Free Zone also means that there are no limits to foreign ownership, which should appeal to international organisations.
Completion is now tantalisingly close, with the market projected to be fully operational by June 2021. It will be another complementary piece in Dubai’s strategy to continuously improve the appeal of the city for international investors and traders alike. Establishing the new Traders’ Market within Jafza will transform the area into a marketplace for Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), which can rely on world-class logistics.
It will particularly appeal to SME wholesale buyers and sellers, thanks to its location within the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) region and its proximity to the Indian subcontinent and Africa. SMEs will be able to access world-class infrastructure and reduce supply chain costs while crucially maintaining the ability to serve the local market without having to lease two separate establishments. With on-site warehousing, traders will also benefit from the flexible customs regime.
The location of the market within Jafza means that there is zero corporate tax for the next 50 years, no restrictions on capital repatriation and no import or export duties. There are also no limits on who can be employed, freeing small businesses to attract the very best talent from anywhere in the world. The appeal is not purely economic. The marketplace will also be a pivotal contributor to the regional circular economy. Lower volumes of cargo have to be shuttled between the local market and the Free Zone, substantially reducing supply chain costs.
With stakeholders increasingly focussing on sustainability practices, an efficient marketplace with leading technology and infrastructure will make achieving these goals even easier.