Khorfakkan Port: A Phenomenal Rise in Throughput Over the Years

Khorfakkan Port2

Posted on Jul 18, 2023 at 08:07 PM

Khorfakkan Port, located in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in the emirate of Sharjah, has experienced an extraordinary growth trajectory, establishing itself as a prominent storage and distribution base outside the city centre and a gateway to other emirates. 

Situated on a sprawling man-made island, this port covers an expansive area of two square kilometres, boasting premier facilities and a strategic location that have made it a pivotal player in Sharjah's maritime industry. With its remarkable infrastructure, Khorfakkan Port facilitates seamless freight movement in the region and has become an integral part of the cargo transportation network.

Key Features of the Port's Infrastructure in the Cargo Industry

The Khorfakkan Container Terminal (KCT), managed by Gulftainer, has witnessed remarkable expansion in recent years, solidifying its position as a leading player in the cargo industry. Encompassing a vast area of 70 hectares, the KCT has an impressive capacity of handling 5 million twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) annually. It boasts six berths and a 2000-meter quay and operates with 20 gantry cranes. The KCT utilises twenty gantry cranes and has expanded its total storage area to 450,000 square meters.

Among its notable features, the KCT includes a storage facility for over 45,000 TEUs, a separate transit shed, and a spacious storage area for LCL cargo spanning over 3,000 square meters. Additionally, the facility can accommodate more than 1,000 reefer containers.

In a recent expansion phase, the KCT added six Super Post-Panamax gantries and four Mega-max Tandem-Lift cranes on an 800-meter berth with a 16-meter draught. Furthermore, it introduced a four-container land bridge on trucks, optimising speed, reducing carbon emissions, and cutting costs.

Significant Contribution to Sustainable Cargo Handling

Sharjah's ports have experienced steady and sustainable growth in cargo volume over the years. Khorfakkan Port, a significant global trans-shipment hub, witnessed a notable rise in general cargo, from 871,175 tonnes in 2016 to 1.15 million tonnes in 2017, as the Sharjah Seaports Authority (SSA) reported. Dry freight also experienced a marginal increase during the same period, rising from 618,048 tonnes to 618,137 tonnes. Additionally, the amount of oil cargo increased from 8.54 million to 9.57 million tonnes.

Although the number of marine passengers arriving and disembarking at Sharjah's ports declined from 31,087 in 2016 to 27,206 in 2017, reflecting a global commerce slowdown, the improvement in facilities for travellers and the positive outlook on global commerce in 2018 are expected to reverse this trend and boost passenger numbers.

Boosting Global Trade Connectivity and Shipment Networks

Khorfakkan Port

Khorfakkan Port holds a strategic advantage due to its geographical location. It serves as a gateway for bulk and containerised cargo from the Indian Ocean rim of Asia, the Gulf, and East Africa, eliminating the need for entry through the Straits of Hormuz. With its 24-hour operations, naturally deep water, and convenient access to UAE markets, Khorfakkan Port is a prime choice for international shipping.

Moreover, the port offers project cargo the ideal terminal footprint, enabling storage and distribution on-quay. This benefit extends to land bridging operations within the UAE and regional transhipment activities in the upper Gulf, Indian subcontinent, and East Africa. Businesses shipping from Pakistan find this advantageous, enhancing economic impact and more efficient shipping procedures.

By choosing Khorfakkan Port, shipping companies can save 10-12% of their network expenditures on vessel fuel costs. Additionally, cargo arriving in the UAE via KCT reaches its destination one day earlier than other ports, resulting in a reduced transit time of four to five days on average between KCT and consignee warehouses, according to a report by Gulftainer.


Khorfakkan Port plays a vital role as a significant cargo transfer facility in the UAE. Its strategic location, state-of-the-art infrastructure, and competitive advantages make it an obvious choice for cargo lines that require swift access to the UAE's interior and handle high transhipment volumes. 

As it continues to leverage its comparative advantages, Khorfakkan Port is poised for future growth. It aims to establish a distinctive global connectivity identity in a region well-served by this expansive port.


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