Saudi Arabia has approved plans to build a large port on its western coast to attract investment and ease pressure on the Western Red Sea port of Jeddah, already one of the world's busiest harbors, an official said.
The port will be located in the coastal Red Sea town of Al Lith and will spread over an area of 43 million square meters, said Mansour Al Gamdi, Jeddah's assistant secretary-general for municipalities. It will give access to giant vessels, he added.
Authorities have already allotted land for the project and are awaiting tenders to be issued, he told the Saudi Arabic language daily Okaz.
The paper quoted another official as saying the planned port will be very large and will be able to receive giant cargo ships and other vessels.
"The main benefits of this project is that it will ease pressure on Jeddah port and at the same time contribute to the development of that area, create jobs for Saudis, attract residents and lure in factories and other investments," said Omar Al Zahrani, head of the municipality in Shawwak town south of Al Lith.
He said the project will be launched after it receives the necessary financial allocations from the Ministry of Finance.
"Following which, tenders will be issued for consultancy companies to carry out the design work, the planning of the quays and canals, and the areas of excavation. It is too early to give a project timeline," he said.
Mohammed Al Qabbaa, governor of Al Lith, said the port, nearly 230 km south of Jeddah, will (together with Jeddah) turn the two ports into the most important economic areas on the Red Sea after Jeddah, adding that it will include 'large industries zones'.