RIYADH: Saudi Arab is planning an intensive growth in its ports and shipping sector by investing $30 billion on infrastructure and development plans.
Experts presented a series of papers to over 200 delegates at the inaugural Saudi Maritime Congress held recently highlighting the kingdom’s rapid seaport infrastructure development and overall investment in transport and logistics.
The new Saudi Arabian port projects include the Jeddah Islamic Port (JIP) expansion which will increase the capacity by 45 per cent, according to Bloomberg.
The Red Sea Gateway Terminal (RSGT) was launched at JIP with the facility receiving its first vessel. The $510 million project has been developed on 400,000 sq m of reclaimed land and has a 740 m main berth, plus a 390 m feeder berth, it said.
Other major projects include the seaport in phase one of the $26-billion King Abdullah Economic City (KAEC), which opened earlier this year in January, besides Marafiq’s Yanbu Industrial City – Marine Facilities ($210 million) and Saudi Aramco with their Dareen Port Expansion Project ($35 million) which is due to be completed this year.
Jay New, chief executive officer of International Port Services Company (IPS), a joint venture between Hutchison Port Holdings and the Maritime Company for Navigation which has the Dammam container terminal concession at King Abdul Aziz Port, said: “Shipping lines want to come to port for the same length of time, but with more cargo; they want to come for the same length of time, but with larger vessels, so it is our job to look after those vessels.”
Hassan Abouraya, consultant engineer, business development, international marketing and risk management executive at Zamil Offshore Services, discussed the urgent requirement for a large repair facility of the Red Sea Coast.
“On the Red Sea, there are more than 25,000 merchant vessels navigating North and South. Only two old repair yards with limited docking capabilities are available in Jeddah and Suez, there is room for at least one world class ship repair yard to be built.”
Zamil offshore already has plans for a joint venture project to build a large shipyard on the Red Sea coast to repair VLCC tankers up to suezmax size and shipbuilding capabilities up to 20,000 deadweight tonnage (dwt), he said.
Saudi-based Bahri and Aramco have also signed a MoU with Singapore-based engineering company Sembcorp Marine, to conduct a feasibility study to build a world class shipyard in Saudi Arabia capable of the design, building and repair of very large merchant vessels.