A team from Jafza attended the SIAL Paris 2014 F&B trade show in the French capital to promote the zone. Over the five days, Jafza officials said they received more than 600 queries from interested companies.
Jafza also sent a delegation to Turkey for a five-day road show, specifically targeted at food and beverage producers, along with automotive and wood product organisations. The road show included a case study by Erdem Sayit, general manager of Banvit Middle East, the regional subsidiary of Turkish food producer Banvit.
“The Middle East is one of the world's fastest growing regions for food and beverage industry. Jafza as a hub facilitates all Jafza companies to serve these lucrative markets most efficiently. This is the reason why most of the leading names in the sector have chosen Jafza for their regional headquarters. We hope more businesses from Europe, Americas and other developed economies come to Jafza to capitalize on the emerging opportunities,” said Tariq Bin Ghalaita, vice president for Europe Region and the UAE at Economic Zones World, Jafza’s parent company.
“The overwhelming response we have received from the leading F&B companies from the developed and developing economies reinforces Jafza 's status as the most favoured destination for investors who want to serve the rapidly expanding GCC, Africa and the CIS markets,” he added.
New competitors arise
As part of its drive to bring in new companies, Jafza has introduced schemes such as its Incubation Centre, which works with other countries’ trade bodies. Under the scheme, smaller businesses from partner countries can explore business opportunities and study the market while working from Jafza at a “nominal cost”, according to the free zone.
One of the largest and most well-established free zones in the GCC, Jafza is currently home to more than 700 firms in the food, beverage and healthcare sectors (which the free zone counts together). But in recent years, the growing number of free zones in the region have provided increased competition for Jafza.
The Khalifa Industrial Zone Abu Dhabi (Kizad), which is just 45km away from Jafza, offers a comparable environment to Jebel Ali, as it is attached to Abu Dhabi’s new deep-water Khalifa Port, while also offering a much larger area for industrial development than Jafza. Kizad has seen a number of big food producing companies set up shop, including NFPC and BRF.