In 1985, the JAFZA was created. It an industrial area surrounding the port, allows the international companies who relocate there to enjoy the special privileges of the free zone. These include exemption from corporate tax for 15 years, no personal income tax, no import or export duties, no restriction on currency, and easy labour recruitment. Al Maktoum International Airport has been constructed just outside the port area. Jebel Ali is also connected to Dubai via the UAE Exchange(formerly Jebel Ali), Danube(formerly Jebel Ali Industrial) and Energy stations on the Dubai Metro.
Jebel Ali has become the port most frequently visited by ships of the United States Navy outside the United States. Due to the depth of the harbour and size of the port facilities, a Nimitz-classaircraft carrier and several ships of the accompanying battle group can be accommodated pierside. Due to the frequency of these port visits, semi-permanent liberty facilities (referred to by service personnel as "The Sandbox") have been erected adjacent to the carrier berth. Among the infrastructure projects built to support the port and town is the world's largest desalination plant, the Jebel Ali Desalination Plant (Phase 2), providing an ample supply of fresh water.