Tea in Dubai: The World’s Largest Facility

World Tea Expo hosts over 200 exhibitors on their expo floor each year, highlighting new products in the market & trends hitting the industry.

A place in which not a single tea leaf grows is home to what will soon be the largest stand-alone facility for the packaging of tea for global distribution.

UnileverME_logoThe Lipton Jebel Ali (LJA) Factory is located in Dubai, employing hundreds of staff and putting out more than 2 million tea bags every hour, 24 hours per day. It is expected that this factory will become the largest producer for Unilever, Lipton’s owner, by the end of 2015.

The increase in production at the facility has been striking. In a period of five years, the volume of tea produced had increased 50%, topping 36,000 tons annually.

Unilever sends tea from this factory to 50 other countries across the globe.

“Dubai is a strategic location as it is situated between the tea-growing areas and the tea consuming markets,” according to Unilever Gulf Supply Chain Director Ahmad Kadous, as told to Gulf News. “Also, being located in a free zone offers us the tax benefit on the raw materials we import. Finally, Jebel Ali Free Zone, is one of the world’s largest ports which gives us the advantage of shipping in and out in an efficient and quick manner.”

dmcc-logoOverall, the tea trade in Dubai is a substantial force. The value of trade increased to $463 million, a 34% increase, last year according to the director of of the Dubai Tea Trading Centre at the Dubai Multi Commodities Centre (DMCC) Sanjeev Dutta. The Dubai Tea Trading Centre is an initiative of DMCC with more than 30 brands involved. Dubai holds 60% market share in re-exporting tea.

The United Arab Emirates may be topping the list of re-exporters, but it only ranks seventh for the world’s top tea drinkers. Who is on top? Turkey stands far above the competition, drinking 6.87 kg per capita. Morocco comes in second with a per capita consumption of 4.34 kg. The remaining countries in the top ten include Ireland, Mauritania, the United Kingdom, Seychelles, Kuwait, Qatar and Kazakhstan.

Source: Albawaba Business, Vision and The Richest