Enhancing commitment to exploring the marine ecosystem of the Red Sea, specifically its coastal coral reefs, representatives of AD Ports Group, a global facilitator of trade and logistics, recently conducted a capacity-building workshop entitled “Coastal defense infrastructure: Barren rocks or novel ecosystems?” in Aqaba.
The workshop, which was attended by the environmental department of the Aqaba Special Economic Zone Authority and professors from the Marine Science Station, an interuniversity research institute owned by the University of Jordan and Yarmouk University, explored the latest research carried out by New York University Abu Dhabi and MSS on the Arabian Gulf and Red Sea for a better understanding of the current status of Aqaba’s marine environment.
On a similar note, through current field assessments and extensive research, the AD Ports Group team seeks to understand the marine ecology of the Red Sea and how infrastructure could enhance marine biodiversity in the Gulf of Aqaba.
This step underscores AD Ports Group’s unwavering commitment to protecting marine life in Aqaba and mitigating the environmental impact of coastal developments, including its Aqaba Cruise Terminal, which is currently underway as one of five strategic megaprojects agreed upon with Aqaba Development Corporation in December 2021 to advance the coastal city’s tourism, logistics, transport, and digital infrastructure sectors.
As part of the process, AD Ports Group is collaborating with local institutions, namely ASEZA and MSS, to access relevant research undertaken within the Red Sea.
David Gatward, chief engineering and technical services officer, AD Ports Group, said: “Driving sustainable and environmentally responsible operations where our projects are located is at the forefront of our priorities. For this reason, the joint NYUAD-MSS-ASEZA collaborative capacity-building workshop is a vital learning exercise that will guide how we design, construct and operate ports and marinas. It also facilitates close collaboration with our local partners, raises awareness of the Red Sea’s remarkable coral reef system and ensures the preservation of these biologically and economically valuable resources. By combining global best practices for coral relocation with the successful project at Khalifa Port, our expert team stands ready to build the capacities of local cadres and equip them with pioneering and innovative methods and techniques to safeguard Aqaba’s marine wildlife ecosystems for future generations.”
Dr. John A. Burt, program head for environmental studies and associate professor of biology, NYUAD, said: “The Gulf of Aqaba is home to a thriving marine life with hundreds of coral and fish species inhabiting its waters. Creating an environment where this marine life can continue to survive, if not prosper, as coastal development in Aqaba expands is paramount. Our recent visit gave us an excellent opportunity to assess the Red Sea’s marine ecology first-hand, as well as meet with local specialists to share our experiences in the Arabian Gulf and gather insights specific to the Red Sea that will support conservation and sustainable development moving forward.”
In addition to the Aqaba Cruise Terminal — a world-class facility for international cruise passengers looking to tour Jordan, specifically Aqaba, Petra and Wadi Rum — AD Ports Group’s strategic agreements with Aqaba Development Corporation also include Marsa Zayed, Maqta Ayla for the development and operation of an advanced Ports Community System, Aqaba Multipurpose Port and the rehabilitation of King Hussein International Airport, which will help position Aqaba as a major regional destination, as well as a catalyst for job creation in the long term, investment attraction and economic development.