An Emirati man walks in the new Khalifa Port in Abu Dhabi on September 1, 2012. Oil-rich Abu Dhabi began commercial operations at its new Khalifa Port which cost so far $7.2 billion to take over from its 40-year-old Mina Zayed Port as a container terminal. AFP PHOTO/KARIM SAHIB
Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have the first and second largest economies in the Persian Gulf, respectively, thanks to their massive oil reserves. But both countries are looking to the future, anticipating the perhaps-far-away but still eventual decline in oil value. They are thus embarking on ambitious economic diversification plans as part of larger social modernization efforts, and given their locations along trade routes, the two countries have come to see that there is money to be made in the business of ports. But though ports and their accompanying shipping jobs are -- and will continue to be -- a safe bet financially, the Saudi and Emirati governments may still be drawn to exert socio-political influence that is at odds with good business practice....
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