Saudi Arabia pushes ahead with maritime investment program as demand drives need for increased capacity – key projects. The Saudi Ports Authority and King Abdul Aziz Port together plan to spend $914 million on port development in the Kingdom.
According to a September 2012 survey conducted by Drewry Maritime Research, brisk economic growth is reflected in container activity in the Kingdom, which accounted for 20 percent of regional throughput in 2011, with 5.69 million TEU.
Among the Saudi Ports Authority’s $164 million development plans is a $51 million power plant, which will be developed at King Abdulaziz Port in Dammam to raise power generation capacity from 50 mw to 120 mw.
Also in the pipeline is a new container terminal in Dhiba Port at a cost of $46 million and two further container terminals at King Fahd Industrial Port in Jubail at a cost of $38 million, which are due for completion by 2014.
More than $750 million is being invested into the growth of Dammam’s King Abdul Aziz Port, with $535 million set aside for container terminal capacity expansion – following a 10 percent increase in container handling in H1 2012 against 2011 figures – and $213 million for other facilities.
A second container terminal is due to open in 2015 with Saudi Global Ports LLC developing the hi-tech facility, which will have a quay length of 1,200 meters and 12 quay cranes, with a design capacity of 1.8 million TEUs per annum, upon completion.
One of the Kingdom’s busiest container hubs, Jeddah Islamic Port, saw volumes increase by more than 20 percent in 2011, with Drewry Singapore forecasting handling of 4.7 million TEUs this year with total capacity of 5.3 million TEU. According to the Saudi Port Authority, the port recorded a 5.15 percent growth in imports and exports in the first half of the year, rising to 3.6 million tons with total tonnage throughput growth of 29.5 percent forecast for 2012, with an average increase of 10.9 percent per annum through to 2016.
Growth at the Red Sea Gateway Terminal in Jeddah accounted for the handling of one million TEU in 2011, led by business from the United Arab Shipping Company and China Shipping Container Lines, with volumes expected to jump to 1.5 million TEU by the end of this year.
Saudi Arabia is also turning to seabound tourism as a valuable economic driver and Saudi Ports Authority’s plans include a $27 million cruise and leisure vessel terminal to be constructed at Yanbu Commercial Port.