An Abu Dhabi state-run company is taking operational control of the city's port from neighbouring Dubai's globe-trotting port management firm DP World.

DP World and Abu Dhabi Terminals said on December 30 that ADT will assume management control of the Mina Zayed facility in the new year, once an existing management services agreement expires.

ADT is a division of the Abu Dhabi Port Company, which was set up in 2006 to manage sea trade in the Emirati capital.

Abu Dhabi and Dubai are the two largest sheikdoms in the United Arab Emirates. Abu Dhabi controls the United Arab Emirates federation's presidency and most of the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) member's oil wealth.

Like Dubai, it's working to diversify its economy with help from state-sponsored companies and is eager to build its own industrial expertise. ADT is a division of the state-owned Abu Dhabi Port Co., which was set up in 2006 to manage sea trade in the emirate.

DP World is considered one of Dubai's industrial crown jewels. It is the world's fourth largest port operator, with business at 50 cargo terminals on six continents, including the Mideast's largest in Dubai. It is part of struggling state conglomerate Dubai World, but is not included in its parent's $24.9 billion debt restructuring.

Last week, DP World sold the bulk of its Australian businesses to a Citi investment fund and an unnamed investor for $1.5 billion in a bid to trim its debt. The deal left it with a 25 per cent stake in the operations and ongoing management oversight of the ports in Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide and Fremantle.

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