Global Winners

Winner - DMCC, United Arab Emirates


For the fourth year running, the United Arab Emirates’ DMCC has seen off all other competition to be crowned fDi’s Global Free Zone of the Year for 2018. Almost 2000 new businesses were established in the zone in 2017, and DMCC finished the year with 14,805 companies and more than 61,700 employees. Some notable investments in 2017 include Saudi Arabia-based transportation and logistics company Bahri Group, which relocated to the zone’s One JLT low-rise business tower, expanding to more than 2900 square metres.


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UK-based Deliveroo opened its first kitchen incubator concept in the zone, with a second also planned by the end of 2018. Deliveroo joined investors from a wide range of industries already present in the zone’s 30-plus commercial towers, including US-based toy company Hasbro, financial giant American Express and home and personal care company Colgate-Palmolive. DMCC plays host to major industry conferences and events, 155 of which were organised in 2017. These included the sixth edition of the Dubai Precious Metals Conference, which was attended by 450 delegates. The Dubai Diamond conference was attended by more than 400 delegates from 13 countries. Some major developments are planned for DMCC in the coming years, with its Uptown Dubai venture projected to created 10,000 jobs over the next decade. The zone is also focused on developing a smart district to ensure the community of the zone (which numbers about 100,000 people) can live and work in a state-of-the-art environment.

This accolade demonstrates that our long-term strategy to lead from the front is working, and that we are continuing to deliver for the companies we host

Ahmed Bin Sulayem, executive chairman, DMCC

Highly Commended – Amata City Chonburi, Thailand


A newcomer to fDi’s Global Free Zones of the Year awards and located near Chonburi on the coast of the Gulf of Thailand, Amata City Chonburi has been highly commended in this year’s awards. The number of people employed in the zone increased by 18.4% to more than 215,000 employees in the judging period. This was the highest increase of all zones in the competition. Amata City Chonburi enjoys access to major infrastructure to the benefit of investors, including sea ports, airports and highways to meet supply chain and logistics needs. Sweden-based Autoliv, which supplies safety systems for the automotive industry, has a presence in the zone, as does Japan-based tyre company Bridgestone and automotive company Toyota. Amata City Chonburi boasts an extensive automotive cluster, and supports its investors with state-of-the-art infrastructure and facilities.

Regional winners

Winner: Africa – Mauritius Freeport, Mauritius

Located on the country’s north-west coast, Mauritius Freeport has been crowned Africa’s winner. The zone offers investors undisturbed access to the Indian Ocean and acts as a gateway between Asia and Africa. Marketing campaigns have been carried out in South Africa, France and the UK to inform potential investors of the benefits of investing in the zone, which contributes 0.7% to national GDP. Home to 280 companies employing more than 3500 people, the zone has seen an uptake in space occupied in recent years. Almost 170,000 square metres was occupied in 2015, which had increased to 300,000 square metres by 2017, and large tenant companies increased by 54.5% between 2016 and 2017. Ship building and repair company Chantier Naval de l’Ocean Indien invested $23m in 2017 to create an additional 200 jobs.

Highly commended: Africa – Kenya Export Processing Zone, Kenya

Recognised in fDi’s Global Free Zones of the Year for the first time, Kenya Export Processing Zone (KEPZ) has been highly commended for Africa. With several new zones in the process of being established, KEPZ is going through a phase of development. This aligns with the government’s ‘Big Four agenda’ – a policy to improve the economy in four key areas; manufacturing, food security, affordable housing and adequate healthcare. The zone is particularly focused on advancing textiles manufacturing and the infrastructure on offer encourages investors to export their goods. Investors in the zone can also take advantage of Kenya’s trading partnerships, including Comesa (the economic common market agreement for 19 countries in eastern and southern Africa) and AfCFTA (the African Continental Free Trade Area) which is a trade agreement between 44 countries in Africa.

Winner: Asia-Pacific – Amata City Chonburi, Thailand

(see Global awards)

Highly commended: Asia-Pacific – Shanghai Waigaoqiao Free Trade Zone, China

Shanghai Waigaoqiao Free Trade Zone has been recognised again by fDi Magazine in the awards, this time highly commended for the Asia-Pacific region. The zone has gone to some lengths to implement policies and processes that make it more open and favourable for investors, and in 2017 it welcomed investments from some major investors including Germany-based electronics company Siemens, Netherlands-based oil and gas giant Royal Dutch Shell and US-based financial company Morgan Stanley. More than 38,000 companies are based in the free zone and over 270,000 people work there, located next to the world’s biggest port with the largest handling capacity.

Winner: Europe – Free Zone Pirot, Serbia

Free Zone Pirot, located in Serbia’s south-east, has been named the leading free zone for Europe. The zone offers investors a set of attractive incentives to encourage job creation. The number of manufacturing investors in the zone increased 22% between 2016 and 2017, while the number of SME companies in the zone increased by more than 5%. Investors in the zone enjoy excellent connectivity for the export of goods. Tigar Tyres, the zone’s anchor tenant, which has invested €210m in recent years, recently invested an additional €27m in the first phase of a logistics and warehousing operation in the zone. A further 400 hectares of space is currently available for existing or future investors to take up to develop energy-efficient facilities.

Highly commended: Europe – Łódź Special Economic Zone, Poland

Home to more than 230 companies in 2017, an increase of 12.8% from 2016, Łódź Special Economic Zone is no stranger to foreign investment. Some major companies chose to establish in the zone in 2017, including Germany-based appliance company Miele, which decided to set up its first Polish plant. Start-ups and SMEs are particularly welcome at Łódź SEZ, and can take advantage of the Start-up Spark accelerator and training programme Strefa RozwoYou, easing some of the burdens faced by small and new businesses. In 2017, Łódź SEZ expanded into three additional subzones, increasing its space by 338 hectares, and was the pilot zone for a new 5G implementation project.

Winner: Americas – Panama Pacifico, Panama

Panama Pacifico offers investors including US-based computer giant Dell, US-based transportation and logistics company FedEx and Germany-based chemicals business BASF, excellent connectivity to serve global markets from two of the three largest ports in the Americas. The zone implements policies to improve employability, training and education, leading to a well-qualified workforce for potential investors. As part of a 40-year development plan for the zone, 1400 hectares of land are to be developed and will include mixed-use and green space. The recently developed PanAmerican Corporate Center, a 95-hectare industrial space, hosts hi-tech and logistics companies. A 15-hectare area is currently under development and will offer approximately 7900 square metres of leasable warehousing space.

Highly commended: Americas – Zona Franca de Bogotá, Colombia

Colombia’s Zona Franca de Bogotá, located just six kilometres from the city’s main El Dorado International airport, was home to 117 multinational companies by the end of 2017. More than 80,000 people are employed in the zone by over 400 companies including Spain-based communications company Telefonica, UK-based telecommunications company BT and Germany-based automotive giant Daimler. The zone offers consultancy services to potential investors, including assistance with foreign trade, financial and legal tools as well as a financial instrument designed to help companies analyse potential effects of customs or tax reforms in a range of sectors. The zone is due to increase by 10 hectares in 2019 as part of a wider expansion strategy.

Winner: Middle East - DMCC, UAE

(See Global awards)

Highly commended: Middle East – Hamriyah Free Zone, UAE

Hamriyah Free Zone, an industrial free-trade zone near Sharjah in UAE, experienced a 13.2% increase in tenancy between 2016 and 2017. The zone boasts a deep water port and inner harbour for industrial investors importing and exporting goods. Plans are in place to expand the port, container terminal and container depot areas of the zone to improve the logistics offering for companies. Hamriyah Free Zone introduced the Middle East and Africa’s first food park in 2017, a 1 million-square-metre area with full world-class infrastructure provided. A food control division was added to provide value-added services, including training, certification and product testing facilities.

SME Winners

Winner: Global – DMCC, UAE

This year’s global winner, DMCC, has also been named fDi Magazine’s best zone for SME companies. The number of SME companies in the zone increased by more than 10% between 2016 and 2017, and the figure is now in excess of 10,000 companies. DMCC hosts 15 centres for co-working space, and in 2017 added almost 3150 square metres of serviced offices and desks, specifically designed for SMEs and making working in the zone easier and more flexible.

Highly commended: Global – Łódź Special Economic Zone, Poland

Łódź SEZ offers start-up and SME companies two programmes that can help them to expand their business. The first, Start-up Spark, is a business accelerator which combines the experience of companies such as Procter & Gamble and Ericsson and offers financial support, mentoring, technological support, legal assistance and access to potential clients. Strefa RozwoYou is the second project, which distributes training vouchers to investors to cover up to 80% of financing for training, coaching or postgraduate studies for SME employees.

Winner: Asia-Pacific – Aequs Special Economic Zone, India

Located in Karnakata state in south-west India, Aequs Special Economic Zone has been named best zone in Asia-Pacific for SME companies. The zone offers incubation facilities for SME and new start-up companies, which companies can use until units are ready in the zone. These companies can also take advantage of incentives such as duty-free imports, tax benefits on exports and custom exemptions.

Highly commended: Asia-Pacific – Ramanujan IT City SEZ, India

Ramanujan IT City SEZ, located in Chennai, provides many good facilities for its 40,000-stong workforce, including dining and shopping outlets, as well as pharmacies and foreign exchange desks. Located on Chennai’s IT corridor, the zone offers an opportunity for smaller IT companies to be clustered close to major investors, which include US-based bank Citi and internet protocol systems company Cisco.

Winner: Europe – Łódź Special Economic Zone, Poland

(See Global awards)

Highly commended: Europe – Katowice Special Economic Zone, Poland

Katowice SEZ has been highly commended for SME companies in Europe, due in part to the construction of production halls for SME companies, the initial phase of which commenced in 2017. Modules from 500 square metres to 2000 square metres are available for SMEs to rent, while an SME business accelerator – Kssen

 Free Zone Pirot

on – is being implemented. In addition, plans are under way to renovate warehouses in Tychy (which forms part of the zone).

Free zones methodology

Winner: Americas – Cayman Enterprise City, Cayman Islands

There are more than 200 companies in Cayman Enterprise City, all of which are SMEs, leading to the zone being named the best zone in the Americas for SME investors. The zone builds an environment friendly to the start-up scene, with networking events, social gatherings and crypto currency meetups designed to foster a sense of community. The zone also works closely with investors to help connect with local talent.

Highly commended: Americas – Ceara Free Trade Zone, Brazil

A secondary area is under construction at Ceara Free Trade Zone, in north-eastern Brazil, specifically for SME tenants. The expansion will cost $15m to complete, and is due to become available in the first half 2019. The zone is located next to the Federal Institute of Education, Science and Technology, with capacity to train 1200 students per year and provide companies in the zone with a well-qualified workforce.

Winner: Middle East – DMCC, UAE

(See Global awards)

Highly commended: Middle East – Masdar City Free Zone, UAE

Masdar City Free Zone, located on Abu Dhabi’s coast and close to its international airport, was home to more than 500 SME companies in 2017, an increase of almost 20% from 2016. Hot desks were introduced in 2017, offering flexible and affordable solutions for small companies. Entry costs for the zone were also reduced, which attracted many such companies. The zone also runs a technology start-up accelerator, ‘Catalyst’, which is focused on clean tech and sustainability. 

Large Tenant winners

Winner: Global – Amata City Chonburi, Thailand          

Located in Thailand’s east economic corridor, Amata City Chonburi hosted 441 large tenant companies in 2017 – 64.2% of all its companies. The zone offers investors build-to-suit or ready-built factories on flexible leasing terms, and is supporting investors such as Japan-based hi-tech company Hitachi in establishing state-of the art manufacturing plants in line with the Thai government’s Thailand 4.0 strategy.

Highly commended: Global – Hamriyah Free Zone, UAE

Billed as the second largest industrial estate in the Middle East, Hamriyah Free Zone boasts almost 1700 large tenants. The zone hosts a 14-metre deep-water port and seven-metre deep inner harbour, catering to investors from heavy industries including petrochemical, oil and gas and marine industries. A new warehousing and logistics village will connect to the country’s major highways, offering export opportunities through the country.

Winner: Africa – Oil & Gas Free Zone, Onne, Nigeria

A specialist zone for the oil and gas industry, Onne Oil & Gas Free Zone has welcomed investments from some major international companies including Netherlands-based Shell, Chevron Nigeria (an oil company and subsidiary of US-based energy company Chevron) and France-based energy company Total. The zone is close to some of the largest reserves of oil and gas in the world, and is expanding by dredging and reclaiming 600 hectares of land in its Onne 4B expansion phase project.

Highly commended: Africa – Mauritius Freeport, Mauritius

Mauritius Freeport provides investors with excellent logistics opportunities in the Indian Ocean, with access to markets in both Africa and Asia. In an effort to increase container traffic in the port, the zone has begun a port development programme that will increase port efficiency and accommodate larger vessels. Investors can benefit from a warehousing scheme, whereby land transfer tax and registration duty are both exempt for land or buildings used for warehousing.

Winner: Asia-Pacific – Amata City Chonburi, Thailand

(See Global awards)

Highly commended: Asia-Pacific – Shanghai Waigaoqiao Free Trade Zone, China

More than 620 large tenants are present in Shanghai Waigaoqiao Free Trade Zone, some of which made some sizeable expansions of their operations in the zone. Shanghai Rongshuo invested $705m, while an additional almost $270m was invested by Shanghai Weiwei Industries. Major investments have been made in some of the infrastructure in the zone, including in plant buildings, warehousing facilities and road constructions.

We have reached the very top of the European free zones family, which is a great recognition and obligation for our team to create an advanced economic environment

Dragan Kostic, CEO, Free Zone Pirot

Winner: Europe – Free Zone Pirot, Serbia

Free Zone Pirot in Serbia has been named Europe’s best zone for large tenants and offers investors further incentives for labour-intensive projects, on top standard financial incentives. In addition, companies are exempt from corporate profit tax for 10 years from the first year reporting profit, where investment amounts exceed €9m in fixed assets and more than 100 additional workers are employed, which will serve to attract larger operations. The zone’s anchor tenant, tyre manufacturer Tigar Tyres, has begun construction on a logistics and warehousing facility on site, which will be supported by a new 10,000-square-metre facility constructed in the zone for the warehousing of automotive tyres.

Highly commended: Europe – St Petersburg Special Economic Zone, Russia

St Petersburg Special Economic Zone is focused on attracting large innovative industrial projects, and the zone participates in a variety of events and exhibitions to promote itself to investors. The zone has an active partnership with business incubators for start-ups wishing to transition to large-scale production.

Winner: Americas – Panama Pacifico, Panama

Panama Pacifico has been named best zone for large tenants in the Americas, with 95 such companies in the zone in 2017, an increase of over 5% from 2016. The zone’s proximity to and partnership with ports (PSA Port and Balboa Port) allow companies to build commercial relations. Three of the region’s largest ports are within 10 kilometres of the zone, an incentive for companies’ ability to import and export with ease.

Highly commended: Americas – Manaus Free Zone, Brazil

With 133 large tenants in the zone, Manaus Free Zone in Brazil’s northern Amazonas state has been highly commended in the Americas region for large tenants. Expansion of the zone’s industrial district has begun, which also includes a project to upgrade all the roads in the industrial district. Major investors have established a presence in the zone, including US-based beverage company Coca-Cola and Germany-based automotive company BMW.

Winner: Middle East – Hamriyah Free Zone, UAE

(See Global awards)

Highly commended: Middle East – Jebel Ali Free Zone, UAE

More than 1700 large tenants are resident in Jebel Ali Free Zone, located in Dubai. Jafza Bridge, which links the north and south areas of the zone, has been opened, easing traffic between the zone and its port and the international airport. Investors can take advantage of the Dubai Logistics Corridor, which links the port, airport and free zone in a unified customs bond.

Specialism awards

Aerospace – Aequs Special Economic Zone, India

Aequs Special Economic Zone has seen investments from some major companies from the aerospace sector. Premium AeroTech, which is a subsidiary of Netherlands-based Airbus, and Sweden-based aeronautics and industrial solutions company Saab, have a presence in the zone, which has just welcomed a Flexible Manufacturing System to attract companies manufacturing complex aero structure components.

Agribusiness – Sohar Port and Freezone, Oman

Located in northern Oman on the coast of the Gulf of Oman, Sohar Port and Freezone is due to complete its agro bulk terminal and food cluster in 2018. The development will include a berth in the port dedicated to food and agriculture products and the food cluster will boast a sugar refinery. There are plans to locate a major milling plant in the zone, which will be built and managed by Sohar Flour Mills, and will include 12 grain storage silos.

Automotive – Walbrzych Special Economic Zone Invest-Park, Poland

Walbrzych Special Economic Zone Invest-Park in Poland’s south-west has become a hub for the automotive sector. Some major automotive companies are based in the zone including Japan-based Toyota, Germany-based Volkswagen and Germany-based Daimler, which recently invested in a Mercedes-Benz engine factory in the zone. The development of the automotive hub has encouraged the development of other industries, including metal and plastic processing and warehousing and logistics services.

BPO, KPO and IT – Zona Franca de Bogotá, Colombia

More than 16,000 people are employed in Zona Franca de Bogotá’s BPO and IT sector. Companies including Spain-based Telefonica, UK-based BT and Spain-based business management solutions company Digitex all have a presence in the zone. Foreign language training is available in Zona Franca de Bogotá, to improve the offering of qualified staff for call and data centres.            

Construction – Khalifa Industrial Zone, UAE

The Construction City at Khalifa Industrial Zone in Abu Dhabi offers a centralised hub for the construction industry. Land leases are offered at competitive rates, and bonded storage for materials is available. The city serves as an open yard space for construction materials, as well as for machinery items for building projects.

Financial and professional services – Birmingham City Centre Enterprise Zone, UK

Birmingham City Centre Enterprise Zone is a city centre zone in the UK’s West Midlands region, and is focused heavily on key business sectors including business and professional services, financial services and digital media. Banking giant HSBC and consultancy firm PWC have both chosen to relocate to the zone, which offers business rate relief of up to £275,000 ($358,000) for companies locating to eligible enterprise zone sites.

IT – Ramanujan IT City, India                        

Located in Chennai’s IT corridor, Ramanujan IT City is a dedicated zone for the IT industry. Companies including US-based technology company Hewlett-Packard, India-based technology and consultancy company Infosys and US-based bank Citi are all present in the zone, which has good connectivity with Chennai helping to attract employees to the zone.

Logistics – Mauritius Freeport, Mauritius

Located in the Indian Ocean, Mauritius Freeport offers investors modern infrastructural and logistics facilities for their companies. The zone’s warehousing scheme exempts companies from land transfer or registration duty, where the land leased or purchased is for warehousing activities. A port development programme has begun, to accommodate larger vessels and a higher volume of vessel traffic.

Manufacturing – Aequs Special Economic Zone, India

As part of an integrated manufacturing ecosystem, Aequs Special Economic Zone provides its tenants with inventory and servicing on machining tools, meaning they can respond to companies’ needs in a timely and efficient manner. The zone is the country’s first to be specialised in precision engineering and manufacturing. The recent addition of a flexible manufacturing system, which manufactures complex parts for the aviation industry, will help attract these companies to the zone.

This reflects our dedication to create a free zone recognised for its innovation, specialization, and readiness for a changing society

Carlos Wong, CEO, Coyol Free Zone

Medical devices – Coyol Free Zone, Costa Rica

Located in central Costa Rica, Coyol Free Zone is home to eight of the world’s top 30 medical device companies. The zone boasts the highest concentration of all medical device companies in Latin America. Medical devices have become an important export for Costa Rica, and 51% of the country’s exports in the sector are derived from the zone.

R&D – Masdar City Free Zone, UAE

Located in UAE’s Masdar City, which is dedicated to renewable energy and sustainable technology, companies locating in Masdar City Free Zone can access important partnership opportunities with Masdar Institute of Science and Technology. The zone’s incentives for innovative start-up companies, including the catalyst programme (which is the Middle East’s first technology start-up incubator and develops companies to attract funding and operate independently) and Krypto Labs (which is a business incubator, accelerator and co-working space for the development and commercialisation of revolutionary products and services) attract innovative companies engaged in R&D.

Renewable Energy – Masdar City Free Zone, UAE

Companies locating in Masdar City Free Zone find themselves in close proximity to the International Renewable Energy Agency, which is the first multilateral institution dedicated to renewable energy in the Middle East. The zone, focused on sustainable technology and renewable energy, aims to increase its number of tenants fourfold by 2020.

Steel – Ceara Free Trade Zone, Brazil

Steel plate production in Brazil’s Ceara Free Trade Zone, which is specialised in the steel sector, increased 98% between 2016 and 2017. To adapt to the increase in steel production, a special motorway was completed for the transportation of steel slabs, as well as the expansion of the motorway which links to the Port of Pecem for exports and imports.

Textiles – Kenya Export Processing Zone, Kenya

Kenya Export Processing Zone is responding to government policy to improve incentives and policy in the textile and apparel sector. A new textile city, which will be the first of its kind in sub-Saharan Africa, is in development in the zone, which will target apparel firms and aims to have 100 companies and 200,000 sustainable jobs. Also in development is the Machakos Leather Park, which will cater specifically for the leather sector.

Editor’s choice awards

Ones to watch

With the specific aim of developing the textile industry, Ontustik SEZ in Shymkent city in southern Kazakhstan has been highlighted as one to watch. The zone’s proximities to a supply of raw cotton, as well to a motorway that allows the movement of raw material and finished goods to emerging market countries, are important draws for investors. Investors can access free land for temporary use until 2030, and enjoy tax incentives, a free customs zone and management team support. Ontustik SEZ opened its first representative office in 2017, while also engaging in international roadshows in Turkey, Dubai and South Korea. Free Economic Zone Balti in Moldova has also been named in the one to watch category. Established in 2010, Free Economic Zone Balti has developed in 11 locations from five localities in all three development regions of the country (north, centre and south). Major infrastructure developments were undertaken in the zone in 2017, and there are plans for €6.5m-worth of infrastructure developments in 2018 across three of its subzones, in addition to €2.5m for road development. Another four localities are scheduled to be incorporated into the zone in 2018, representing an additional 60 hectares.

Consistency through times of change

Foreign Trade Zone No 64 in Jacksonville, Florida has been recognised for its consistency through times of change. In the three years to 2018, the zone had been headed by three different US Customs Area port directors, making policy determinations and programme direction susceptible to delays and disruption. However, the zone continued to grow in these years and through the change in leadership.

Workforce readiness

Starachowice Special Economic Zone in south-centre Poland has been recognised for its workforce readiness and prides itself on the well-qualified staff it can offer potential investors. The Regional Cluster of Vocational Education is led by the zone, and it seeks to marry the needs of companies investing in the region with the vocational education on offer to students. The zone partners with companies to determine their needs and offers solutions in response (such as business English classes), as well as with the Polish Ministry of Education to implement new vocational policies.

Innovation award

Łódź Special Economic Zone has been awarded this year’s innovation award in recognition of the zone’s outward-looking and forward-thinking approach to new industries and technology. Łódź city was chosen as the pilot city for new 5G technology, and the zone has a role in creating demand for the services. A technical school for automation and robotics has also opened in the zone, in partnership with Łódź Technical University.

Bespoke awards


Ladol Free Zone in Nigeria began work on its Upskilling Academy in the past year. Tenant companies can use this facility to access a well-qualified talent pool, where students are trained in collaboration with international and local companies.

An engineering college was established at Free Economic Zone Balti in Moldova, which will have a dual programme of vocational education and practical work-based experience in tenant companies. The programme ensures that companies investing in the zone will have access to a network of highly qualified candidates.

A Technical School of Automation and Robotics is planned for Łódź Special Economic Zone in Poland, which, in partnership with Łódź Technical University, will provide high-quality vocational training for students with practical classes in specialist laboratories. In turn, this will provide a qualified workforce for potential investors in the zone.

Poland’s Starachowice Special Economic Zone leads the Regional Cluster of Vocational Education, with the aim of improving the quality of vocational education in the region. The programme allows the zone to meet investor needs where an educated workforce is concerned.

Winning the specialism and bespoke awards is a proud moment for KIZAD as we continue to build an ecosystem that is a key enabler for economic growth

Samir Chaturvedi, CEO, Khalifa Industrial Zone Abu Dhabi (Kizad)

Panama Pacifico boasts partnerships with universities that run various post-graduate programmes in the local area, including Inadeh, which is a technical training programme in shared services, logistics and maritime sectors. A new school – Saint Mary’s College – is due to open in the zone soon.

There is close collaboration between the Small Business Development Centre at the University of North Florida and Florida’s FTZ No 64 Jacksonville, which aims to educate local businesses on the benefits of investing in the zone. A foreign trade zone analysis is offered to businesses interested in the programme.

Sirasartsuksa Amata School has been opened at Amata City Chonburi zone in Thailand, offering international education from kindergarten level to tertiary level. The initiative aims to provide education for families living and working close to the zone.

Two key initiatives are in place in Poland’s Katowice Special Economic Zone, which prioritise education to provide a qualified workforce. First, the Silesian Competence Centre for Industry 4.0 will help SME companies to develop their employees’ competences in this new wave of technology. Second, the zone launched the ‘Competence Council in the Automotive Sector’ in partnership with the Polish Chamber of Automotive Industry to adapt the workforce to the needs of investing companies.

Workforce training and development

Companies based at Zona Franca Santander in Colombia can participate in strategic training and networking events at special rates, while operational training is provided to companies to train them in the procedures and requirements of the zone. Employees of companies based in the zone can also access the services of three on-site training institutions, where more than 500 people were trained in 2017.

Zona Franca de Bogotá provides the Unifranca education alliance, which has trained more than 3800 employees in the zone in a second language. The zone specialises in BPO and call centre operations, and this training ensures a well-qualified workforce for such operations.

A regional training centre was developed at Free Zone Sabac in north-west Serbia, in partnership with the Austrian Development Agency. The centre aims to attract new investors to the zone.

As part of the Strefa RozwoYou initiative on offer at Łódź Special Economic Zone in Poland, training vouchers are distributed to allow the company to redeem up to 80% of the cost of training, coaching or post-graduate studies for employees of SME companies investing in the zone.

Vocational education in the engineering college and practical training in the form of apprenticeships with tenant companies are offered as part of a dual training system in Moldova’s Free Economic Zone Balti, in an effort to provide a qualified workforce for investing companies.

Workforce training is offered to companies investing in El Paso FTZ #68 in Texas, as part of a special set of incentives available to manufacturing companies.

Cayman Enterprise City on the Cayman Islands is active in connecting local talent with investing companies. The zone provides coding workshops and training sessions to give the local workforce an advantage and attract investors. It also recently established the Cayman Code Academy, powered by coding school Code Fellow, which responds to the needs of companies in the zone for employees qualified in coding.

Employees of companies in Panama Pacifico can avail of training and education on a weekly basis in a variety of subjects, promoting education and networking.

The training of young people and women in manufacturing is prioritised at Kenya Export Processing Zone as part of a national shift towards the 'Big Four agenda', including encouraging investment in manufacturing.

Employees enrolled at the Upskilling Academy in Ladol Free Zone in Nigeria are trained in a collaboration between the zone and international and local companies.


Amata City Chonburi, Thailand – Mitsubishi Electric Consumer Products recently established a second factory in the zone on a plot of 243,000 square metres, expanding from its first factory of 177,000 square metres.

Zona Franca de Occidente, Colombia – Braun increased production of surgical sutures from 300,000 units in November 2017 to 1 million units in April 2018. The company is aiming to increase to 8 million units in December 2018.

Zona Franca del Este, Costa Rica – Amazon is planning to expand in the zone by 20,000 square metres.

Panama Pacifico, Panama – Grainger expanded its operations in the zone by 2000 square metres.

Coyol Free Zone, Costa Rica – among others, Coopervision is doubling its clean room manufacturing area and increased production by 107%.

El Paso FTZ 68, US – Cardinal Health expanded by 1000 square metres in 2017.

Dubai Silicon Oasis, UAE – Jaguar Land Rover is expanding its presence in the zone with its new regional headquarters, which will cover an area of 14,000 square metres and support the company’s regional support plans.          

Aegean Free Zone, Turkey – Hugo Boss recently increased its operation, with the addition of a new 10,736-square-metre building.

Lipetsk Special Economic Zone, Russia – OBO Betterman is currently constructing a new facility in the zone to expand its production of cable protection and fastening systems. In addition, another 17 hectares have been claimed nearby to set up a production operation for galvanised goods.

Dubna Special Economic Zone, Russia – Promtech-Dubna is in the process of establishing its seventh manufacturing building in the zone, as part of plans to establish 10 such facilities.

Wałbrzych Special Economic Zone Invest-Park, Poland – Toyota has expanded its plant in the zone, which has become the largest manufacturing base for the company outside Japan.

Klaipeda Free Economic Zone, Lithuania – NeoGroup has expanded its manufacturing facility at a cost of €50m to introduce a new production line, which would increase production activity at the site by more than 50%.

Expo Business Chisinau, Moldova – The initial investment of Fujikura Automotive Europe, which saw the creation of 700 jobs, has increased to 1500 jobs. There are plans to employ up to 3000 people in the zone by 2021.

Free Economic Zone Balti, Moldova – Dräxlmaier began its operation in the zone in 2010 with one plant, which had increased to three plants by the end of 2017 and a fourth facility is currently under development.

Ontustik SEZ, Kazakhstan – AzalaCotton increased production volume in the zone by 30%.

Łódź Special Economic Zone, Poland – BSH obtained a sixth business permit to create a specialist R&D facility in the zone.

New investments

Sohar Port and Freezone, Oman – Pittie Group began a $300m investment to produce cotton yarn. The facility will produce 100,000 tonnes of cotton yarn when completed.

Dubai Silicon Oasis, UAE – Lulu Group invested Dh1bn ($272m) to develop a shopping mall measuring 93,000 square metres.

Khalifa Industrial Zone Abu Dhabi, UAE – Agreements have been signed by 15 Chinese companies to invest more than $1bn in the zone under the company name China-UAE Industrial Capacity Cooperation (Jiangsu) Construction Management.

Baltic FEZ (Marijampol), Lithuania – Dovista plans to invest €50m in the coming years in the zone and create 1000 jobs.

Free Zone Sabac, Serbia – Yazaki Corporation invested in a 30,000-square-metre facility which employs 1100 staff.

Special Economic Zone Titanium Valley, Russia – Stod-Ural invested $49m in a facility in the zone in 2017 which is currently under development and will produce 300,000 cubic metres of glued laminated lumber and OSB plates per year once completed.

Alabuga SEZ, Russia – Rockwool Company invested more than $10m in a new mineral wool production facility.

Industrial Special Economic Zone Togliatti, Russia - Ozon Pharmatsevtika invested in a new pharmaceutical plant in the zone to manufacture dosage forms and starting materials, a first for Russia.

Katowice Special Economic Zone, Poland – Johnson Mattey is planning to invest €100m in Gliwice to employ 250 people in its new production facility for catalysts and semi-finished products.

Łódź Special Economic Zone, Poland – Miele invested €50m in a production facility in the zone, its first in Poland. The company employed 350 people to begin with, and plans to increase this number to 1000 employees and double its investment.

Facilities upgrades

DMCC in Dubai broke ground on its Uptown Dubai project, a 930,000-square-metre development including grade A commercial and residential space, more than 200 retail and food outlets, 3000 residences, an entertainment plaza and a number of hotels. The development expects to create 10,000 jobs. In addition, a smart district was built in the zone in 2017 and more than 3000 square metres of co-working space was added.

Dubai Silicon Oasis is developing many facilities, including the Dh1.3bn ($354m) smart city project Silicon Park, the Dh500m new campus for the Rochester Institute of Technology Dubai, a Dh25.5m water treatment plant, the Dh30m Lake Park project and the Dh97m techno-hub office building dedicated to technology companies.

The Accelerator Building is a new addition to Masdar City Free Zone, which is a new 5000-square-metre office building aimed at SMEs. The facility includes hot desk areas and low rental options. An apartment complex was opened in 2018 that boasts 500 one-bedroom units and the Masdar Park outdoor dining and leisure destination was expanded in 2017 to include a hiking trail, a football field and basketball court.

Kizad Logistics City was launched at Khalifa Industrial Zone Abu Dhabi and offers companies a pay-per-use warehouse solutions model. Construction City was also established in the zone to serve the needs of the construction industry. There are plans to expand the zone as part of the Kizad Area B expansion, which will see the addition of 84 square kilometres for commercial, industrial, warehousing, accommodation and community facilities.

Construction has completed on 136 new state-of-the-art warehouses at the Hamriyah Free Zone food park and new warehouses are currently under construction. A new Accommodation City was established to house 6000 additional workers. Plans are under way for the third phase of the zone’s expansion, which will increase the zone’s area to 30 square kilometres.

New buildings were constructed at Latvia’s Freeport of Ventspils, including the construction of new rental space that will increase the zone’s rental offering by 25%. An additional 10 hectares are being prepared for the development of industry.

Dubna Special Economic Zone in Moscow Oblast in Russia was expanded by more than 275,000 square metres in 2018 to serve demand from science companies. An innovation and technology centre will be built in the new expansion.

Łódź Special Economic Zone was increased by almost 340 hectares and incorporated a new subzone. Construction began on a new warehouse and production hall in 2017, designed for SMEs.

A fourth datacentre is being developed at Zona Franca de Bogotá in Colombia, as well as the addition of another hotel. The first 10 hectares of the zone’s major expansion project is expected to get under way in 2019.

Infrastructure upgrades

A port redevelopment programme is under way at Mauritius Freeport, which will allow larger vessels to come in to port, as well as a higher volume of vessel traffic. The 540-metre berth was extended by a further 240 metres and the dredged depth now reaches 18 metres. Container stacking capabilities have also been increased.

Shanghai Waigaoqiao Free Trade Zone has seen developments and upgrades in its plant buildings, warehouse buildings, office buildings and complexes, as well as construction on its roads.

SEZ Khorgos – Eastern Gate in south-eastern Kazakhstan has invested in many new infrastructure projects to attract investors, including new roads, electricity supplies and water systems. In addition, plans are under way for the expansion of the zone.

Money was invested in the access roads to the port and industrial sites at Latvia’s Freeport of Ventspils, along with increases in car parking space. Approximately $2.8m was invested in port infrastructure, which included upgrades to the dry cargo terminal, construction of a new storage facility and the reconstruction of hydrotechnical constructions.

In 2017, construction began on a railway to the site of Industrial Special Economic Zone Togliatti in south-western Russia, which will make the zone more accessible and more attractive to investors upon completion. Work also began on a common customs terminal on the site.

A metro extension is planned to run through the Curzon and Digbeth areas of Birmingham City Centre Enterprise Zone in the UK. A masterplan has been drawn up for the Digbeth area, which will provide guidance on connectivity and infrastructure improvements to support growth proposals in the area.

More than $600m has been invested in port infrastructure developments at Florida’s FTZ No 64 Jacksonville, in preparation for accepting larger vessels and as part of the harbour deepening project.

Adani Ports and SEZ, Mundra on India’s north-west coast has seen increased infrastructure. A container scanning system has been installed to improve cargo time, and unloading arms are currently being installed to handle liquid cargo. This complements a new container terminal and a new LNG terminal that have both been established to improve cargo flow and lower costs.

Almost 14 kilometres of roads and utilities have been upgraded to support new investors in heavy industrial, general industrial and logistics and port companies in the UAE’s Khalifa Industrial Zone Abu Dhabi.

Free Zone Pirot in Serbia has constructed a logistics centre, including an intermodal terminal and warehousing and logistics facilities, to allow investors to shift goods from rail to road. Software tools were also developed for clients in 2017 to allow them to easily communicate between the zone’s freight forwarding department and customers and ease the freight forwarding, import and export processes.

The first stage of the development of Lipetsk SEZ in Russia was completed, which included work on all the engineering and transportation networks. Construction of customs facilities is under way, complete with offices, check points, radiation monitoring and video surveillance capabilities.

A lot of infrastructure development work was undertaken at Russia’s Dubna Special Economic Zone, including work on land drainage, road infrastructure, utility networks, electric supply and a boiler system. Plans are in place to establish a power supply station, a hospital and a customs complex in 2019.

There are plans to invest approximately €6.5m in the infrastructure of Moldova’s Free Economic Zone Balti in 2018, in addition to construction work on access roads in the subzones. Subzones were connected to gas and electricity in 2018 as part of the development work.

Rzeszów – Dworzysko Science and Technology Park in south-eastern Poland is addressing the need for connectivity in the zone, with plans for a new bus route, a new railway stop and the construction of a bypass near the zone.

Start-up support      

In an effort to attract start-up companies and hi-tech entrepreneurs, Dubai Silicon Oasis added 1500 square metres to its Dubai Technology Entrepreneur Centre, which offers start-up companies rents at subsidised rates. Companies can also take advantage of co-working space, funding opportunities, mentoring opportunities, consultation and business tools.

The Accelerator Office building at Masdar City Free Zone is a new 5000-square-metre office facility which offers SME companies and start-ups lower rental rates for office space, complete with a full business centre, meeting rooms and hot desk areas. The zone also provides a range of services for such companies, including business support services as part of its innovative ecosystem.

Innovative start-ups and larger companies can benefit from the collaboration afforded to them through the Space3ac Intermodal Transportation accelerator on offer at Pomeranian Special Economic Zone in Poland. The accelerator provides financial and expert support.

Łódź Special Economic Zone offers Start-up Spark, an accelerator introduced in January 2017 to combine the innovative ideas of start-up companies with the experience and mentorship of established companies. The programme is designed to bring innovative products to market.

Amata City Chonburi, Thailand

Amata Network Company completed the construction of an underground fibre network in 2018, which includes FTTx concept design and distribution of this state-of-the-art cable network. This helped the zone to be recognised for its Deployment of Technology. Hitachi High Technologies Corporation established a trial factory in the zone in 2017, and offers a shared hi-tech facility for the company’s manufacturing operations in Thailand, operating remotely from Japan. This helped the zone in its Industry 4.0 award win. Amata City Chonburi was further awarded for its Smart Strategy in the development of its Smart City. This location provides integrated manufacturing, assembly and processing capabilities and includes smart manufacturing and energy processes. The zone was recognised for its Sustainability Practices, which included several projects, including an eco-industrial estate development, which boasts environmentally-friendly infrastructure, energy management and green spaces.

Birmingham City Centre Enterprise Zone, UK

Recognised for its Relocation Services, Birmingham City Centre Enterprise Zone offers its EZ Relocation Services Pilot, which gives investors an aftercare relocation service. The programme has been extended until 2020.

Ceara Free Trade Zone, Brazil

Ceara Free Trade Zone’s new mobile app, SICA, was developed to streamline the movement of goods to and from the zone, and helpedit to be awarded for its Deployment of Technology. The app allows the user to access control tools for cargo, people and vehicles and allows for the scheduling of customs transit. Exports in the state of Ceara grew by more than 62% between 2016 and 2017, to reach the highest value in the history of the state. This coincided with a 98% increase in the production of steel in the zone and ensured its recognition for Exports Increase. While experiencing this unprecedented growth, the zone also made strides in its Sustainability Efforts, achieving the Green Seal of Certification from the Brazilian government.

Coyol Free Zone, Costa Rica

Coyol Free Zone has been recognised for its Academic Collaboration, due to alliances with education institutions which offer courses and training for employees to further their education. Companies can be assured of a qualified workforce to support their investment. A training centre is located on site for meetings, workshops and other activities. A database of more than 25,000 candidates (which investing companies can access) also helped it to win an award for Recruitment Assistance.


This year’s Global Free Zone of the Year, DMCC has been recognised in a handful of categories. Its Smart Strategy has been warmly received by judges, thanks to the completion of its smart district strategy. The aim of the strategy is to ensure the people living and working in the zone are thriving in a state-of-the-art community, with smart initiatives such as the rollout of its smart parking system. The zone’s excellent China Strategy includes business materials offered in Mandarin, Chinese-speaking account executives and a China business centre. DMCC and the companies located in the zone accounted for 10% of Dubai’s overall GDP in 2017, leading to its award for Economic Impact. The zone has been lauded for its Reduction in Red Tape, having brought the time companies must wait for a licence renewal down from nine to four days, and the issuing of new business licences from three to two days. The second edition of the zone’s Thought Leadership programme produced a report on the future of trade. The report was downloaded more than 5000 times in the space of four weeks, and established the zone as an authority on the subject.

Dubai Silicon Oasis, UAE

Dubai Silicon Oasis has been recognised for its Sustainability Practices due to its range of environmental policies, including a smart underground water-saving subsurface irrigation system, a sewage water treatment plant to produce irrigation water, the use of electric and hybrid vehicles, smart waste management and free electric vehicle charging points for people in the zone.

Expo Business Chisinau, Moldova

Fujikura Automotive Europe launched production at its new facility in Expo Business Chisinau in 2017, with the creation of 700 jobs. The operation expanded quickly to employ 1500 people, a figure the company plans to increase to 3000. An investment of this scale in a small economy will have a multiplier effect and deliver much-needed jobs to the area, leading to the zone’s award for Economic Impact.

Free Economic Zone Balti, Moldova

Free Economic Zone Balti launched a Supplier Development Programme to help SMEs reach standards required of multinational companies to be able to provide them with goods and services as part of the supply chain. This also fed into the zone’s Cluster Development, establishing an automotive cluster comprised of more than 25 companies, 10 universities, R&D centres, business support bodies and local administration. The zone was also awarded for its Academic Collaboration, setting up an engineering college on site and working with companies to provide a dual vocational education and internship programme.

Free Zone Pirot, Serbia

Software tools were developed in Free Zone Pirot in 2017 to ease the communication for clients with both the freight forwarding and customs processes, helping to secure an award for the Deployment of Technology. The zone was also recognised for its Incentives programme, which were plentiful and ran the gamut from corporate tax exemptions and employment grants to benefits of the logistics centre, including customs procedures. Free Zone Pirot’s Connectivity was also recognised, thanks to its proximity to the Pan European Corridor X connecting Belgrade with Sofia and Turkey, Italy and Greece. The interchange to this road network is just 300 metres from the zone.

Freeport of Ventspils, Latvia

The advance of an ICT cluster is high on the agenda of the Freeport of Ventspils, and led the zone to be awarded for its Cluster Development. An ICT growth strategy was adopted, which included a strategy to attract ICT companies, and a pilot competition was conducted to gain financing for the implementation of ICT ideas.

Hamriyah Free Zone, UAE

Hamriyah Free Zone enjoys access to a 14-metre deep-water port and a seven-metre deep inner harbour, allowing access from large vessels. A new double carriage highway has been constructed to improve the zone’s Connectivity with other major highways in the country, including with the important Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Road (E311).

Inhdelva Free Trade Zone, Honduras

Inhdelva Free Trade Zone in north-western Honduras proved it was adept at Crisis Management when faced with political riots in 2017. The zone looked after its clients and its staff were well equipped to handle the situation.

Jebel Ali Free Zone, UAE

Jebel Ali Free Zone has been recognised for its Economic Impact. According to its submission, the zone accounts for almost 32% of all FDI flows into the United Arab Emirates and contributes 21% of Dubai’s GDP annually.

Katowice Special Economic Zone, Poland

The Siliesian Competence Centre for Industry 4.0 was established at Katowice Special Economic Zone, which will support SMEs in their digital transformations and will provide training and education to their employees, and resulted in the zone’s Industry 4.0 award. The zone was also recognised for its Academic Collaboration, thanks to its K2 programme (Career and Competence) which adapts the vocational education programme to labour market needs. Dual training offers students practical experience with theoretical knowledge.

Kenya Export Processing Zone, Kenya

The Export Business Accelerator on offer in Kenya Export Processing Zone has won the zone an award for its SME Acceleration. The programme helps to propel SMEs investing in the zone into medium or large exporting companies.

Khalifa Industrial Zone Abu Dhabi, UAE

As part of its China Strategy, Khalifa Industrial Zone in Abu Dhabi offers an in-house China desk, which is staffed with Chinese nationals who can communicate effectively with Chinese-based investors who are interested in investing in the zone. The zone is in close proximity to four international airports, as well as being fully integrated with Khalifa Port. The zone’s Connectivity is also boosted by the high standards of roads around the zone. Khalifa Industrial Zone also boasts a sea water cooling and desalination system, which supports heavy industry within the zone and ensures water pumped back to sea from the system is fully cooled and does not harm marine life, helping its award for Sustainability Practices.

Kinh Bac City, Vietnam

Incentives in Kinh Bac City include a tax exemption for two years and a tax reduction of 50% for the following four years. Some projects, in areas such as scientific research, hi-tech projects and software, have a tax rate of 10% applied for 15 years. A tax rate of 0% applies for transfer of profit abroad.

Klaipeda Free Economic Zone, Lithuania

Klaipeda’s Free Economic Zone in Lithuania has been acknowledged for the Economic Impact it makes to its country. The zone contributes between 2.5% and 5% of the country’s GDP annually. The zone’s Incentives package is attractive to investors, with a 0% income tax rate for 10 years, and a rate of 7.5% for the following six years. Rates apply to companies investing €100,000 and employing at least 20 staff. Flexible Space is offered to investors through the zone’s Flex Start complex, which offers a range of purpose-built accommodations, including manufacturing and office facilities. This allows a company to establish operations within three months.

Ladol Free Zone, Nigeria

Ladol Free Zone in Nigeria has been the base for 50,000 direct and indirect jobs in the 17 years it has been running, and $500m has been invested in the zone, which has helped bring it recognistion for its Economic Impact.

Łódź Special Economic Zone, Poland

As part of the 5G strategy for Poland, Łódź was chosen as the pilot site for 5G technology implementation. Łódź Special Economic Zone, which has been recognised for its Deployment of Technology, plays a crucial role in creating demand for the 5G services among its companies, and has developed an S5 accelerator to help start-up companies realise their potential to utilise the technology. Also recognised for its Industry 4.0 strategy and Smart Strategy, the zone is focused on the development of Industry 4.0 start-up companies, and through its Spark VC programme will invest in seed start-ups as well as the 5G accelerator, aimed at smart industry.

Masdar City Free Zone, UAE

A new version of Masdar City Free Zone’s One Stop Shop was launched, which allows companies to access the full suite of services it offers online. Company licence applications, visa requests and lease renewals can all be done online without the need to apply in person, helping the zone to win an award for its Reduction in Red Tape.

Oil & Gas Free Zone, Onne, Nigeria

Incentives on offer at Oil & Gas Free Zone, Onne in southern Nigeria include 100% repatriation of capital investment and remittance of profits, no value-added tax, no corporate tax and no capital gains tax, while no import or export licences are required.

Ontustik SEZ, Kazakhstan

Located in southern Kazakhstan, Ontusik SEZ has been recognised for its China Strategy, having opened its first foreign representative office in the country in 2017 to attract attention from Chinese investors. This resulted in a $140m manufacturing investment from a Chinese investor in 2018. The zone has also been awarded for its Community and Charity Initiatives, organising multiple events through the year for local youth, minority groups and people with disabilities.

Panama Pacifico, Panama

Workers in the area surrounding Panama Pacifico zone can access a range of programmes and weekly workshops to encourage their professional and personal development, helping the zone to win an award for its Career Development Support. Panama Pacifico’s Academic Collaboration was also highlighted by judges, due to partnerships with a range of postgraduate and school-level programmes. Infrastructure projects are in development and aim to make the zone the best connected area in the country. Two of the three largest ports in the region are located close to the zone, while the bidding process is under way for a new metro line stop in the zone. A cargo railroad is also accessible from the zone, which helped it to be recognised for its Connectivity.

Parque Central Zona Franca, Colombia

A ‘super cluster’ is currently under development in Parque Central Zona Franca, which spans several sectors and connects various anchor companies in the zone and develop a supply chain from the generation of raw materials through to customers of the finished products. These efforts have been recognised with an award for Cluster Development.

Aqaba International Industrial Estate, Jordan

Aqaba International Industrial Estate’s China Strategy includes a representative office in Shenzhen and a collaboration with Shenzhen Chamber of Commerce to encourage and attract investment to the zone. Two Chinese companies invested in the zone in 2017 as a result of the strategy.

Pomeranian Special Economic Zone, Poland

Pomeranian Special Economic Zone has been recognised for its Bridging Innovation and Business. The zone’s offer is supported by the Gdańsk Science and Technology Park, which encourages entrepreneurship in sciences and technology. Facilities on offer include a 3D printer, modern office spaces, a technology incubator, laboratories and training programmes. The Space3ac Intermodal Transportation accelerator programme provides expert and financial support to companies working in the space sector.

I would like to dedicate this award to all our occupants who have made Ramanujan IT City SEZ into a true global landmark

C Velan, CEO, Ramanujan IT City

Ramanujan IT City SEZ

Architecture Development has been undertaken in India’s Ramanujan IT City. Developments include a podium/main street concept development, two levels above ground level. A bridge has been constructed to connect the zone to a rail station and an underground vehicle chassis scanner has been installed.

Ras Al Khaimah Economic Zone, UAE

An award for the Reduction in Red Tape has been given to Ras Al Khaimah Economic Zone, having put a focus on making doing business easier in the zone. New software systems were implemented, as well as a new e-services website, where clients can apply for services in the zone from anywhere in the world at any time. A one-stop-shop services centre was also established.

SEZ Khorgos – Eastern Gate, Kazakhstan

As part of the Incentives package on offer, products produced by companies on site at SEZ Khorgos – Eastern Gate will be exempt from customs duties and VAT when importing raw materials or components of finished goods.

Shanghai Waigaoqiao Free Trade Zone, China

In recognition of efforts to open the zone and to attract international investors, Shanghai Waigaoqiao Free Trade Zone has been awarded for its Advocacy. Temporary adjustments have been made to laws and regulations at national and local levels to provide legal guarantees. The zone has also been recognised for its Trade Facilitation efforts, thanks to its opening up of the financial service sector to attract foreign capital and help domestic companies go global.

Sohar Port and Freezone, Oman

Sustainability Practices in place at Sohar Port and Freezone in Oman include the use of steam produced as a by-product of manufacturing operations in the zone. Steam generated in factories is piped to other industries and used as a source of energy. Studies are under way with a view to running port vehicles on hydrogen, another by-product of industry. The zone has also installed solar panels around the head office, reducing the amount of power drawn from the grid.

Special Economic Zone Stupino Quadrat, Russia

Special Economic Zone Stupino Quadrat has successfully lobbied the Russian government for changes in legislation which would make it easier for investors to achieve ‘Made in Russia’ status and for the amount-based adjustment for supplying railways and engineering infrastructure for residents. This helped Special Economic Zone Stupino Quadrat to be recognised for its Reduction in Red Tape.

Special Economic Zone Pavlodar, Kazakhstan

The Resources and Raw Materials on offer at Special Economic Zone Pavlodar include 100% of the region’s aluminium supply, 75% of its ferro-alloys and 37.5% of its coal reserves.

Starachowice Special Economic Zone, Poland

Starachowice Special Economic Zone boasts the Regional Cluster for Vocational Education, which aims to improve the academic offering of the local workforce and, through closer links with companies investing in the region, aims to better meet their needs. This has been recognised by an award for Academic Collaboration. Members of the cluster include higher education institutions, vocational education institutions, companies, business support institutions and representatives of regional government.

Zona Franca Santander, Colombia

Training programmes and opportunities for employees to boost professional development, when married with social progress and efficient use of environmental resources, offers companies the greatest chance to achieve economic growth, according to Zona Franca Santander. These are part of the zone’s offering, and helped it to achieve recognition for Helping Companies Succeed as part of its 'Doing Well by Doing Good' campaign.


Note: The Ras Al Khaimah Economic Zone was incorrectly named the Ras Al Khaimah Free Zone in an earlier version of this article