Saudi Arabia plan $613m spend on port expansions
Saudi plan US$613m investment on port expansions
Expansion projects expected at Dammam, Yanbu and Jubail ports
Saudi Arabia have announced plans to invest heavily within the expansion and infrastructure of the country's ports, with more than SR2.3 billion ($613 million) put aside for development, which includes increasing the capacity of Dammam Port.
Transport Minister, Jobarah al-Suraisry, said that as well as expanding the country's second largest port there are plans in place to invest in the industrial ports of Yanbu and Jubail.
"All ports are subject now to expansion. We are investing now SR2.3 billion for projects in all the ports and we always continue increasing, particularly the industrial ports in Yanbu and Jubail. The next budget will be coming in five or six months and we will see more projects, Jobarah al-Suraisry told Trade Arabia.
Saudi Arabia is the world's largest exporter of oil, yet wants to diversify its economy and sees the port and shipping industry as an ideal means of achieving this goal.
The Persian Gulf State currently has a total of 200 docks throughout its nine ports, with the largest of these ports Jeddah Islamic Port (JIP) recently increasing its capacity to around 5 million TEU, after the opening of its Red Sea Gateway (RSG) terminal 18 months ago.
The Saudi Transport Minster believes that despite the global economic downturn JIP will see at least a 5 % increase in container traffic this coming year. In 2010 the port handled 3.9 million TEU.
Additionally the Port of Dammam is expected to double its capacity within the next three years given its impending expansion, Suraisry told Trade Arabia.
The cost of the project remains unclear but the Saudi Public Investment Fund and Singapore port operator PSA are in place to get the expansion started.
The country is in the process of redeveloping and constructing a variety of infrastructure projects within a $400 billion program over the next 5 years.