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United Arab Emirates-Transportation

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United Arab Emirates Index


Bridge across Dubayy's creek; the United Arab Emirates boasts many modern highways.
Courtesy Embassy of the United Arab Emirates, Washington

Oil revenues have helped finance a modern transportation infrastructure consisting of roads, ports, and airports. These facilities have helped make the UAE, and Dubayy in particular, a major hub of regional and international air and sea traffic. The UAE has about 2,000 kilometers of roads, of which 1,800 were paved as of 1993. The principal road is a highway via the main coastal cities, from Ash Sham to the northwestern border of the UAE, where it connects with roads to Saudi Arabia and Qatar.

Dubayy's port at Mina Jabal Ali, with sixty-seven berths in 1988, is one of the largest man-made harbors in the world. Located fifty-three kilometers southwest of the city of Dubayy, it handled nearly 10 million tons of cargo in 1989. Mina Rashid, also in Dubayy, in 1984 had thirty-five berths. The Dubayy Ports Authority was established in 1991 to operate the two ports. In addition to Mina Jabal Ali and Mina Rashid in Dubayy, the UAE's other ports are Mina Zayid in Abu Dhabi, Mina Khalid in Sharjah, Mina Saqr in Ras al Khaymah, Khawr Fakkan, and Mina al Fujayrah, the port at Al Fujayrah.

During periods of regional conflict, such as the Iran-Iraq War of 1980-88 and the Persian Gulf War of 1991, high insurance premiums for gulf shipping periodically reduced the amount of traffic handled at the UAE's ports, although Mina al Fujayrah and Khawr Fakkan had the advantage of lying outside the Persian Gulf on the Gulf of Oman. Abu Dhabi National Tankers Company operates about fifty ships, another aspect of UAE port traffic.

The international airport in Dubayy is the region's busiest, serving 4.3 million passengers in 1988 and handling 144,282 tons of cargo in 1990. Other international airports, which have had difficulty attracting traffic, operate in Sharjah, Ras al Khaymah, and Al Fujayrah. The New Abu Dhabi International Airport opened in 1982, and the Al Ayn International Airport was scheduled to open in the early 1990s. Emirates Airlines is the UAE's international airline.

Data as of January 1993

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