The GCC countries are allocating $36 billion to further develop their port infrastructure amid increasing foreign non-oil trade volumes.
Saudi Arabia is powering ahead with port infrastructure development with more than $750 million allocated to Dammam's King Abdul Aziz Port, which includes the launch of a second hi-tech container terminal in 2015 with capacity for 1.8 million TEUs per annum.
The Jizan Economic City project will also include port infrastructure plans while the northwestern port of Dhiba will get a new $46.4 million container terminal. Two additional terminals, valued at $38.4 million, are to be constructed at King Fahd Industrial Port in Jubail while Jeddah Islamic Port is forecasting an average increase of 10.9 percent through to 2016.
Qatar's new $7.1 billion mega-port project, located close to the busy Messaeid Industrial Zone and Port is aiming for a 2016 opening, with eventual capacity of six million TEU per year by 2028.
In the UAE, Jebel Ali will see its terminal three capacity expanded to 19 million TEU per annum, with Abu Dhabi's Khalifa Port Terminal adding a further 15 million TEU per year upon completion in 2030. – SG
Oman is also expanding existing facilities at Salalah, to form a new $143 million maritime- meets-air hub, and phase one of its 1,061-kilometre long national railway system will include a link from Sohar Port to Al Misfah (Muscat) and onwards to Duqm Port, as well as connecting Sohar to the UAE border. In the UAE, Jebel Ali will see its terminal three capacity expanded to 19 million TEU per annum, with Abu Dhabi's Khalifa Port Terminal adding a further 15 million TEU per year upon completion in 2030.
According to the UAE Federal Customs Authority, foreign exports soared in the first eight months of 2012 with non-oil trade reaching almost $184.6 billion, up $19 billion against the same period in 2011.
Export growth of 49 percent saw total exports jump to just under $31 billion compared to $20.6 billion the previous year. Foreign non-oil imports were also up by 11 per cent, an increase of $11.8 billion, with 85.1 million tons of goods coming into the country from January to August 2012.
The UAE, and its neighbors are fast becoming a more cohesive maritime and air trade power that will provide a vital link between the Far East and Australasia. Europe and North America; and with over $36 billion investment into port transportation in some of the Gulf's key destinations, the future potential for trade growth is unlimited.
With the proposed GCC regional rail network entering the early phases of development in the UAE and Saudi Arabia, and receiving government sign-off elsewhere, the road map for land-sea-air connectivity is in place to drive new intra-regional opportunity and the development of next generation terminal facilities are needed to accommodate future projected demand.
The Saudi Gazette