His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minster and Ruler of Dubai has unveiled plans to create a Dh30 billion Dubai Wholesale City; in order to move away from the economic dependence of oil and increase the UAE’s shares of the global wholesale trade sector.

The 550 million square feet market is to be built close to the city’s new Al Maktoum International Airport. The Wholesale City is set to house over 15,000 traders from all over the world and specialised integrated trading parks as well as an international trade exhibition facility. The project will be developed by Dubai Holding, with the overall project taking roughly 10 years to complete; this will provide a forum for selling and buying wholesale products including electrical appliances, electronics, construction materials, food, furniture, vehicles and spare parts and clothing and textiles.

This project aims to increase the UAE’s share of the global wholesale trade sector, with Sheikh Mohammed stating at the launch: “The UAE is moving on with its strategic plan to diversify the national economy away from a dependence on oil. It has its unique economic vision that enables the creation of new economic sectors to contribute to the nation’s growth, even while upgrading existing sectors to ensure they are on par with highest global standards”

“Our aim is to build a sustainable national economy. Dependency on oil was never a choice and we will not bind our future to it”

The chairman of Dubai Holding, Mohammed Al-Gergawi also added: “Dubai Wholesale City is among several projects that we have conceptualised as part of our priority to help achieve the UAE’s post-oil vision. The launch of the Dubai Wholesale City comes as a result of intensive discussions and meticulous studies of the wholesale sector, and the plethora of opportunities it offers. We are confident this project will have immense positive impact on wholesale trade in the UAE, the Gulf region and the rest of the world.”

Notably, the destination will also initiate the largest e-commerce platform for wholesale trade in the region. Aiming to develop the capabilities of the UAE in the global e-commerce space, which is projected to grown from US$1.672 trillion to US$2.941 trillion in 2018 with a compound annual growth rate of 21%.

In addition, the UAE’s e-commerce market is expected to grow at double the speed of the global sector. According to market projects, e-commerce in the UAE will rise up to four times its current size within the next three years; to rise from a value of US$2.5 billion in 2015 to US$10 billion in 2018, a compound annual growth rate of 59%.

Due to its close proximity to major markets Dubai’s Wholesale City will connect three quarters of the world’s population with a flight time of seven hours; which will make it an ideal assembly point between the east and west, a crucial factor in differentiating it from wholesale hubs worldwide. The hub will benefit from Dubai’s innovative logistics services near Al Maktoum International Airport and the Jebel Ali Port, two key gateways for global cargo and shipping industries.