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Port Description

The Port of Aden is situated between the promontories of Aden (Jebel Shamsan, 553 m) and Little Aden (Jebel Muzalqam, 374 m) and is protected from the NE and SW monsoons by these hills and along the northern boundary by land, enabling it to operate without restriction all year. The harbour covers an area some 8 nm east-west and 3 nm north-south.

The port consists of the outer harbour, providing anchorage areas, the oil harbour at Little Aden on the west side of the harbour, and the inner harbour to the east. These harbours are reached by a channel from the entrance mid-way between the promontories. The outer section of the channel has a depth of 16.0 m. From the bifurcation point, a channel heading north west to the Little Aden oil harbour has a depth of 14.7 m, leading to four berths for oil tankers at depths of between 11.6 and 15.8 m, alongside LPG and dry cargo berths, and a RoRo berth, all at a depth of11.0 meters.

The channel to the inner harbour, leading north east from the bifurcation point, has a least depth of 15.0 m. The inner harbour has 9 alongside berths, plus 6 buoy and 3 bunkering (dolphin) berths with depths between 5.5 and 11.9 m. On the north side of the inner harbour, the Aden Container Terminal (ACT) provides 700 meters of quay, depth alongside 16.0 meters (completed in March 1999). Off the ACT is a turning area, depth 15.0 m, diameter 700 m. At the eastern end of the inner harbour, a short channel of depth 11.0 m leads to the Ma'alla Terminal, with 4 container/general/bulk berths of total length 750 m, depth 11.0 m., and a RoRo berth depth 7.6 m. At the eastern end of this terminal is the Home Trade Quay, 250 m long, depth 6.7 m . The inner harbour also contains a fishing harbour and a ship repair yard with two floating docks.

The inner harbour is protected by a short breakwater at Ras Marbut, where the harbour control tower is situated. The Harbour Master's office is in the tower.

50,000 tone capacity bulk silos and a flour milling plant have been constructed at Ma'alla (1999).

Ma'alla Multipurpose and Container Terminal
General cargo/Bulk berths 
Cargo ships of up to 50,000 DWT, LOA 275 m, draft 11.3 m can berth at the Inner Harbour buoy berths.
Cargo ships of up to 40,000 DWT, 190 m LOA and draft 10.7 m can berth alongside at the Ma'alla Terminal . 
There are two conventional/bulk berths, each 187.5 m in length, depth 11.0 m, at the Ma'alla Terminal.

The Home Trade quay, 250 m in length, depth 6.7 m, is used by smaller vessels. A bulk cement receiving and bagging plant operates behind the Home Trade Quay Shed 23, with bulk vessels discharging to this from Berth No. 4. East of the Home Trade quay are 800 m of lighter and dhow quays at depths of between 1.8 and 2.7 m. A number of mobile cranes are available, including one 50 tone capacity heavy lift crane. A 30 tone capacity floating crane is also operated by YPA.

The area inside the boundary wall of the Ma'alla Wharf has been declared as the "Aden Free Port". Customs inspections are carried out in a customs area at the eastern end of the Ma'alla Wharf. 

For bulk wheat, pneumatic suction pumps and automatic bagging plant provide the principle means of unloading ships and filling bags for direct delivery onto lorries. 50,000 tone capacity silos, and a flour mill, are being constructed (1999) west of the Ma'alla Terminal between it and the Ship Repair Yard. These are due to be brought into operation early in the year 2000.

Bulk cargoes may also be unloaded by grab into barges and taken to silos on the North Shore (capacity 18,000 tones) where they are unloaded by an elevator, or to the lighter quays for unloading using the automatic bagging equipment.

RoRo berth
Ma'alla Terminal. One alongside RoRo berth, ramp width 20 m, 150 m. long, depth 7.62 m.

Container berths
The Ma'alla Terminal has two container berths, each 187.5 meters in length, depth 11.0 m. These berths are equipped with two 40 tones capacity Liebherr shore gantry cranes (1993 and 1995), Panamax capable with a 38 meters outreach (50 tones under the hook for heavy lifts).

The container yard covers a total area of 7 hectares, and has 426 x 20 foot ground slots with a storage capacity of 852 TEU (two high). Four 42 tones Kalmar (1993) and three 28 tones Kalmar (1985) top lifters handle containers in the yard. Nine tractor units and 38 20 foot and 40 foot trailers move containers from the quay to the yard. The yard has 32 reefer container power points. A 170 m x 60 m cargo shed with offices is used as a CFS at the back of the yard. 

Oil harbour
Aden Refinery Company (ARC) had an annual production of refined products of around 4.6 million tones in 1998.   Oil products are used in Yemen and also exported by tanker.

Berth No.

Depth (m)




T jetty. For tankers up to 85000 DWT, LOA 260 m - for loading refined products.   Dredged in 1993.



T jetty. For tankers up to 65000 DWT, LOA 180 m - for loading refined products.   Dredged in 1987.



Pier berth. For tankers up to 65000 DWT, LOA 235 m - for loading refined products.    Dredged in 1987.



Pier berth.   For tankers up to 110000 DWT, LOA 286 m - for discharging crude oil and loading refined products.   Dredged in 1989.


Tankers discharging/loading at Berths 1-4 (only) are allowed to bunker alongside.



For LPG, dry cargoes, heavy lifts and import/export cargoes (liquid and dry) in containers shipped to or from the Refinery. LPG quay length 120 m, dry cargo quay length 220 m, for ships up to 150 m in length berthing alongside.   Turning basin width off the berths is 250 m, dredged to 11.0 m in 1993.   Tankers of up to 25,000 TDW and dry cargo vessels of up to 15,000 GRT use these berths.

RoRo berth
Little Aden Oil Harbour. One RoRo berth, ramp width 20 m, located on the NE cor
ner of the dry cargo berth, depth 11.0 meters. Ships moor stern to this berth, with a distance of 200 meters from the face of the berth to the closest point of the 11.0 metre dredged area.

ACT - Aden Container Terminal 
The Aden Container Terminal has two container berths, each 350 meters in length, depth 16.0 m alongside. The berths are equipped with four 40 tones capacity (under the spreader) Reggiani super post-Panamax shore gantry cranes (1999), with a 52 meters outreach from the quay wall.

The container yard covers a total area of 35 hectares, and has 2500 x 20 foot ground slots with a storage capacity of 10,000 TEU (four high). Eight 40 tones Fels Cranes RTG's (1999), 4+1 high, 6+1 wide, and 2 reach stackers handle containers in the yard. 22 tractor units and 45 trailers move containers from the quay to the yard. 

The yard has 252 reefer container power points. A 97 m x 48 m CFS and multi-county consolidation shed, with office space, is located to the rear of the container yard, together with terminal offices, independent power station (14 MW), desalination plant, workshops and waste treatment plant. The ACT operates a fleet of service, maintenance and emergency vehicles.

Fishing Harbour
The Fishing Port located within the commercial port area of Aden, adjacent to the branch headquarters of the Ministry of Fish Wealth.

The total area of the fisheries port is 8.5 hectares, with a wharf length of 550 meters, along with three gantry cranes of 5 and 10/20 tones run.   The alongside depth varies from 5.5 to 7.2 meters maximum.


A variety of large buildings occupy an area of 2.3 hectares, reclaimed during the mid '80's, which includes,:

  a  2000 tone capacity cold storage complex;

  a 100 tones/day ice maker;

  a general fish handling/fish processing area;

  a fishing gear manufacturing and repair area.

In addition, the port provides a large ship repair complex, including a 1,500 ton capacity floating dock (operated by the National Dockyard Corporation), extensive engineering, repair and general service workshops, and a fiber-glass boat building factory (operated by the Coastal  Fisheries Corporation) for small craft production.

These facilities are backed up by a large, multi-story management and administration building, open storage areas and a variety of storage sheds.

Other services & facilities

Passenger/cruise berths, calls by Naval Vessels 23 passenger vessels called at Aden in 1998. These use the two bunkering dolphins on the south side of the harbour opposite the tourist pier. Passenger launches are available to transfer passengers to and from the ships, but they may also use their own launches. Naval vessels from America, France, Germany, Holland, India, Oman and the UK have recently called at Aden. These use the RoRo and main berths at Ma'alla and/or the port's bunkering facilities.

Ship repair, bunkering, towage, dry-docking, launch service, medical facilities, fresh water, dirty ballast reception, gray/black water reception, rubbish collection, provisions, repatriation, marine/engineering surveys, gyro/radio repairs, life raft repairs and surveys.

A large number of cargo storage sheds are available at the Ma'alla Terminal, including two 170 m x 60 m cargo sheds and the CFS. The Ma'alla Terminal provides 10 hectares of open storage area.

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