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Air corridor for Abu Dhabi aims to support food security

Abu Dhabi hopes the air corridor for perishable goods such as fresh fruit will improve the UAE's place in the global food supply chain Reuters
Abu Dhabi hopes the air corridor for perishable goods such as fresh fruit will improve the UAE's place in the global food supply chain
  • Improved transit of perishable goods
  • Three Abu Dhabi bodies sign MoU
  • UAE central to global food supply

Abu Dhabi is planning to establish an air corridor for perishable goods in a bid to develop new trade routes and support the UAE’s food security efforts.

Etihad Cargo, Abu Dhabi Airports and Abu Dhabi Food Hub – Kezad have signed a tri-party memorandum of understanding.

Abu Dhabi Food Hub is the country’s first dedicated food wholesale market and logistics complex, and Etihad Cargo is the logistics arm of Etihad Airways.

The Fresh Corridor 2.0 initiative aims to develop a framework for Abu Dhabi to make the UAE more central to global food supply chains. 

The partners plan to establish a system for food trading and investment, which includes advanced infrastructure, access to regional consumer markets and reliable logistics and connectivity worldwide.

Elena Sorlini, managing director and interim CEO at Abu Dhabi Airports, said the plan will further “support the commercial development of the emirate as a global food centre”. 

She added that the launch of Fresh Corridor 2.0 will encourage two-way food trade between the UAE and the rest of the world, bringing food products into the UAE but also taking “Made in the UAE” products to the world, to diversify and increase imports and exports.

Elena Sorlini of Abu Dhabi Airports,  Antonoaldo Neves of Etihad Airways and Suresh Vaidhyanathan of Abu Dhabi Food Hub signed the three-way agreement with the aim of developing new trade routesEtihad Cargo
Elena Sorlini of Abu Dhabi Airports, Antonoaldo Neves of Etihad Airways and Suresh Vaidhyanathan of Abu Dhabi Food Hub signed the three-way agreement with the aim of developing new trade routes

Middle East airlines posted an 18.3 percent annual increase in air cargo demand in December, in line with strong global growth attributed to Red Sea disruption.

Global demand for air cargo was up 10.8 percent compared with December 2022 – the strongest performance in two years, according to the International Air Transport Association (IATA).

The Middle East recorded the second-highest increase of all regions behind Asia-Pacific, where demand grew 18.5 percent.

The UAE published its National Strategy for Food Security in 2018. It includes a target for the UAE to rank first in The Economist’s Global Food Security Index by 2051. 

Suresh Vaidhyanathan, CEO of Abu Dhabi Food Hub, said the plan would help to position the UAE as a leader in the regional food value chain: “Our vision is to create an unparalleled ecosystem of sellers and buyers from around the world.”

Work on the infrastructure for the 3.3 sq km Abu Dhabi Food Hub began last year at Khalifa Economic Zones Abu Dhabi, known as Kezad.

Design and infrastructure contracts have been awarded for the project, which is intended to boost food security, cut waste and promote sustainable agriculture practices.

Abu Dhabi is seeking to rival its neighbour Dubai as a culinary powerhouse in the region, and Max Grenard, corporate F&B director at Wasl Hospitality and Leisure, told AGBI the emirate is making strides to catch up. 

“Looking ahead, Abu Dhabi’s prospects as a culinary hub seem promising,” he said. “The city’s commitment to culinary excellence, coupled with its strategic investments and international partnerships, is likely to further elevate its status in the culinary world.”

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