The UAE's reputation as a hub for trade and commerce needs no introduction. For decades, entrepreneurs from all over the world have flocked to our shores, bringing with them not just goods but economic prosperity. In more recent years, Sharjah has been one of the most prominent emirates responsible for boosting the country's economy, through the creation of innovation-led, investor-centric free zones that leverage their strategic geographic position with exceptional incentives and business support.
Established in 1995, Hamriyah Free Zone (HFZ) proudly welcomes over 6,500 companies from 163 countries, testament to its standards of service, state-of-the-art infrastructure and broad range of permissible business activities. The free zone sits on a 30 million sqm site in Sharjah, capitalising on its unique location with ports on both the Arabian Gulf and Gulf of Oman, as well as an international airport and road links to offer investors access to 1.5 billion potential customers. The free zone has also been expertly designed to meet the needs of investors and their employees by providing them with not just commercial space, but maritime facilities, accommodation, government services and e-facilities to encourage a thriving economic environment where progress flourishes.
Managed by the Hamriyah Free Zone Authority (HFZA), the free zone offers investors the opportunity to open a company in less than 60 minutes in one of six diverse sectors: oil and gas, food park, marine services, industrial manufacturing and global logistics, as well as a spectrum of start-ups at the Accelerator Hub. Each business activity is equipped with a range of solutions, including office spaces, warehouses and plots of lands, supported by attractive packages and simplified procedures.
However, as we navigate the realities and complexities of Covid-19's impact on the economy, the free zone is tackling unprecedented challenges in its quest to empower enterprise and enrich Sharjah.
In conversation with Saud Salim Al Mazrouei, Director, Hamriyah Free Zone Authority:
Are you offering any incentives to businesses in order encourage post-COVID operations?
At HFZA, we are constantly innovating and adapting to meet the evolving needs of our investors in order to promote their business and the industry as a whole. However, Covid-19 has been an unprecedented event that has heavily influenced how we have been operating in 2020. We have rapidly expanded our suite of online services to over 285, allowing investors in the UAE and around the world to seamlessly carry out day-to-day and exceptional activities without having to physically visit HFZ.
I am proud to reveal that HFZA is one of the first entities to respond to Covid-19 by working closely with our investors on a case-by-case basis. We understood their unique positions and provide for exemptions on inspection fees, fines for the late renewal of commercial licenses and visas, as well as a 50 per cent discount on transferring shares, aligned with government stimulus packages.
However, along with supporting our existing investors, we are also firm advocates of progress, encouraging new businesses to flourish. Currently, we are offering new companies 20 per cent off warehouse and office packages, as well as complete exemptions on licence fees.
As always, the health and safety of our employees and our investors is paramount. In addition to the existing security and medical facilities on the site, we underwent disinfection and maintain strict social distancing rules for all in the free zone.
What are the main advantages of doing business at Hamriyah Free Zone?
For 25 years, we have proven to be a trustworthy and progressive commercial business partner. We offer complete global connectivity by land, air and sea, as well as 100 per cent repatriation of capital and profits, a suite of e-services and extensive infrastructure to suit a range of business activities.
The integrated community within the free zone also enjoys on-site facilities tailored to each of its sectors. For example, the oil and gas zone enjoys 1.2 million sqm of leased land area for storage tanks and terminals, as well as easy access to sea port through bunkers and pipelines; those in the maritime industry enjoy access to a 14m deep water port, 7m deep inner harbour and plots of lands with access to the sea making it ideal for ship building, repairing, offshore works, engineering and storage. Our unique, 11 million sq ft Food Park comes equipped with warehousing, manufacturing, distribution, logistics and lab testing facilities, while we provide easy interface with other government authorities for permits and certifications.
To meet the growing demand for quality warehouses that are suitable for trading, storage, manufacturing and other light to medium industries, we provide warehouses ranging from 200 sqm to 600 sqm. Our warehouses also have multi-power capacity options, ranging from 20 kW to 150 kW. It also comes with ready offices, reception, multiple lavatories and ample parking space.
How are HFZA's digital facilities affecting investors' activities?
HFZA has always been focused on providing a seamless experience, allowing investors to focus on their business rather than bureaucratic procedures. To enhance their experience while taking into consideration the 'new normal' of a post-Covid world, we have developed over 285 smart services and remote transaction facilities.
This allows investors to conduct their activities, from document verification to VAT registration and more, from anywhere in the world.
Can you tell us about the solutions offered by HFZA to businesses?
HFZA offers a range of executive offices, pre-built warehouses and industrial land, that can be customised to your business requirements.
We offer cost-effective offices and licensing options to support aspiring entrepreneurs, with a wide range of services and facilities built to help you reach your goals. We have also streamlined and simplified our procedures, which enable entrepreneurs to get their licence in less than 60 minutes.
International standard, pre-fabricated warehouses are also available to suit your business requirements. These light industrial units provide appropriate electrical loads and lighting and are equipped with roller doors and a loading bay.
Hamriyah Free Zone features 30 million sqm of prime investment area, with available industrial plots of land starting from 2,500 sqm at competitive fixed-lease rates for the first five years and range of facilities such as extensive network of transportation, power, water and waste management, dedicated labour accommodation with recreational facilities, and much more.
What is your vision for Hamriyah Free Zone Authority?
We have recently launched into a new phase of our expansion, allowing for even more investors to bring their business blueprint to life in Sharjah. As we move forward into the future, HFZA aspires to be the epicentre of excellence for organisations that are progressive, growth-oriented and future-focused, driving sustainable value and growth for the economy of Sharjah. We aim to be an agile entity that constantly evolves to surpass our investors' requirements, staying true to our mission of empowering enterprise by delivering on convenience, connectivity, collaboration and commerce.
For more information, contact:
Phone: +971-6-526 3333
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