DP World is set to build and operate a logistics hub in Mali under a 20-year concession agreement signed with the West African country’s government, the Dubai state-owned company said on Wednesday.
Construction of the first phase of the 1,000 hectare (10 square kilometers) hub, to be known as the Mali Logistics Hub, will start next year and take 18 months to complete with an estimated initial investment of $50m, DP World said in a statement.
“The Mali Logistics Hub will dramatically improve the cost and time of trade for Mali,” said Mali’s minister of equipment and transport, Moulaye Ahmed Boubacar.
“The project will provide us with a first-class logistics facility comparable to global standards and will be the largest in terms of capacity.”
The hub will have a capacity of 300,000 twenty-food equivalent units (TEUS) and be located outside Mali’s Bamako on the main road corridor between Bamako and Senegal’s Dakar near the Dakar-Bamako rail line.
The agreement represents an economic victory for landlocked Mali, where fast escalating violence by Islamist militants in the centre and north of the country has raised questions about the government’s ability to successfully hold a presidential election this weekend.
DP World, one of the world’s largest port operators, has become increasingly active in Africa in recent years signing contracts for port and logistics facilities with Ethiopia, Congo, Somaliland, and others.
Wockhardt, a global pharmaceutical company, said it is expanding into the Middle East by setting up a $40 million state-of-the-art facility for manufacturing New Chemical Entities (NCEs) in Jebel Ali Free Zone (Jafza) in Dubai, UAE.
Speaking at the inauguration of the new facility, Dr Habil Khorakiwala, founder chairman of Wockhardt, said the company is poised to make a major breakthrough in the development of antimicrobial drugs to fight the emerging threat of superbugs.
“With Wockhardt’s commitment to R&D, we have five breakthrough NCEs that have been accorded Qualified Infectious Disease Product (QIDP) status by US FDA. With the new facility in the Middle East, we aim to focus on our commitment in developing medicines that can fight antimicrobial resistance,” said Dr Khorakiwala.
Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) - the ability of infections to resist antibiotics to work against it - is increasingly recognised as a growing global health problem. Infections caused by antimicrobial-resistant strains of bacteria - also called ‘superbugs’ - are unlikely to respond to standard treatments resulting in prolonged illness and a greater risk to health, and severely impacting clinical outcomes, leading to further higher healthcare costs due to consumption of healthcare resources.
Dr Mahesh Patel, chief scientific officer of New Drug Discovery, Wockhardt said: “Wockhardt’s drug discovery program has immensely benefited from global collaborations with universities and scientists of international repute in the areas of public health, Infectious diseases and clinical microbiology”.
Wockhardt currently has five novel antibiotic drugs in advanced stages of global clinical development which will be effective against these “superbugs” threats identified by the Center of Disease Control, USA. Considering the strategic importance of these antibiotics, the US FDA has granted Qualified Infectious Disease Program (QIDP) status to the five novel antibiotic drugs.
“Wockhardt has dedicated significant resources for the discovery and development of these novel antibiotics, which are in advanced stages of development are a culmination of 20 years of dedicated and focused research,” said Dr Murtaza Khorakiwala, managing director of Wockhardt.
The 10,000-sq-m facility in Dubai is equipped with best-in-class and fully automated manufacturing equipment, creating a self-sufficient environment for handling, warehousing, manufacturing operations, product testing and product stability.
“The facility will work on the exhibit batches and will be offered for inspection by the regulators at an appropriate time,” he added.
The facility meets the needs of Aseptic Dry Powder Injectable manufacturing and filling with a high-quality operation. This facility is dedicated to launch its novel New Chemical Entities in the antibiotics segment to the world from UAE.
“Wockhardt conducted extensive studies for identifying a region in the Middle East to establish a strong manufacturing presence for its advanced patented drugs. JAFZA was found to be appropriate for the factory premises for manufacturing patented proprietary drugs for global markets,” added Dr Khorakiwala. Jafza is home to 306 healthcare and pharmaceutical companies from 54 countries.
UAE's pharmaceutical and healthcare market is expected to increase by an additional Dh12.45 billion ($3.4 billion) from 2019 to 2021.
According to a report by BMI research, the UAE’s pharmaceutical and healthcare markets are among the region’s best-performers, growing from Dh62.30 billion in 2017 to Dh65.68 billion in 2018 and Dh78.13 billion in 2021.
Sultan Bin Sulayem, Group chairman and CEO, DP World, said, “The healthcare and pharmaceutical sectors are key strategic targets in the Dubai Industrial Strategy 2030. As a trade and logistics hub, Jafza fully supports this vision and we are determined to help it grow.
“We warmly welcome Wockhardt to Jebel Ali Free Zone. The opening of a research-centric global pharmaceutical and biotech company like Wockhardt in Jafza marks another milestone moment in our efforts to encourage pharmaceutical companies to establish their manufacturing facilities, as well as knowledge and R&D centres in DP World’s business and industrial parks.”
Wockhardt Bio AG manufacturing facility is designed to meet the standards of various international regulatory agencies and the standards set by the Local Ministry of Health.
“Wockhardt is poised for a quantum leap into the future. It is a future of dynamic changes, exciting possibilities and endless potential to further its goal of ‘Life Wins’ and Wockhardt is committed to shaping this future," added Dr Khorakiwala. – TradeArabia News Service
DP World will also provide Mali with three locomotive trains to increase cargo and passenger traffic between Bamako and Dakar as part of the concession, which it said has an automatic 20-year extension.
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