Jebel Ali Free Zone (Jafza) the flagship free trade zone entity of Dubai declared in March that it had registered 52 new firms in the automotive and aeronautics industry in 2015.

Jafza and the trade and logistics hub of the Middle Eastern regions organised a forum for its automotive and aeronautics industry customers. The forum was attended by senior officials from prominent companies in the sector as well as Jafza management and Free Zone Partners.

Chief Executive Officer and the chairman of DP World and chairman of Ports, Customs and Free Zone Corporation, Sultan Ahmed Bin Sulayem said that the constant growth of the automotive and aeronautics sector exhibits the Free Zone’s strength as not only a regional but global hub for the automotive sector. The evolution of Jafza as one of the leading free trade zones in the world is accredited to its emphasis on growth driven by innovation and creativity.

Bin Sulayem added that Dubai Ports, Customs and Free Zone fully support automotive and aeronautics sector through their focused facilities and services; as this sector plays an important role in enabling the economy to achieve and sustain growth.

He said: "The Middle East region is one of the fastest growing markets in the world for the automotive sector. Jafza as a trade and logistics centre provides easier access to key markets in the region serving more than 2 billion people, including those with higher income. Jafza registered 52 new companies in the automotive and aeronautics industry, bringing the total number to more than 435 companies from 60 countries. Trade volume from 2010 to 2014 also rose by almost 80 per cent."

Sultan Ahmed Bin Sulayem attributed this growth to the UAE’s economic stability and other major development projects that are expected to be implemented in the foreseeable future. These initiatives are in order with the directives from UAE leadership to diversify the economy to the non-oil sectors and prepare for a post-oil period.

With the growth of the automotive and aeronautic sector, Economic Zones World (EZW) chief financial officer, Asim Al Abbasi emphasised the importance of this sector as a key pillar in the Free Zone and said, "We need to seize the opportunities of this sector at the regional and local levels, especially after the Business Monitor International report’s optimistic outlook for the growth of this sector in the UAE where the total projected sales by 2019 is up to about 508 thousand units with an annual growth rate of 5.6 per cent, 5.1 per cent and 4.7 per cent during 2017, 2018 and 2019, respectively."