Red Sea’s largest port to come up in Saudi Arabia

January 17th, 2009 - 7:52 pm ICT by IANS  

Dubai, Jan 17 (IANS) Developers of the King Abdullah Economic City (KAEC) in Saudi Arabia Saturday unveiled the blueprint of the KAEC Sea Port designed to become the largest port in the Red Sea and one of the top 10 ports in the world.Emaar, the Economic City (Emaar E.C.), the consortium developing KAEC 100 km north of Jeddah, said in a statement that the new port would be a logistics hub and would have a capacity of handling 20 million TEU or twenty-foot equivalent container units.

The consortium is headed by the United Arab Emirates-based real estate giant Emaar Properties and a number of other Saudi investors.

“KAEC facilities (are) planned and designed to satisfy not only current needs, but to provide for the kingdom’s future requirements and to boost the kingdom’s global competitive advantage,” Fahd Abdul Mohsen Al Rasheed, board member and chief executive of Emaar E.C., said in the statement.

The port is one of the six key components of the KAEC, one of the six economic cities Saudi Arabia is developing to turn the country into a top investment destination in the world.

The other components of the 168 million sq. m. KAEC are an industrial zone, residential areas, a seaside resort, an educational zone, and a Central Business District (CBD), which would include a financial island.

The new port, designed by Emaar E.C. in coordination with Halcrow, a global consultancy specializing in maritime projects, would be uniquely bonded with the industrial zone, facilitating the flow of primary material and products to the industries within the zone, furthermore assisting regional and global export.

“The KAEC Sea Port will create a new world-class logistics hub on the Red Sea Coast, and will be key factor of economic growth for Saudi Arabia and the wider region,” Halcrow Middle East maritime director Richard Beard said.

The port is part of the first phase of the KAEC, which also includes the industrial zone, the seaside resort and residential communities.

According to the Emaar E.C. statement, the port is set to be operational by the first quarter of 2011 and will consist of a multipurpose cargo terminal and a 1.7 million TEU container terminal, “after which the capacity of the port will be increased on several phases”.

The port will have a depth of 18 metres, which will allow mega vessels to anchor.

“At a strategic location on the Red Sea and stationed on one of the largest and busiest shipping line routes, the mega-city’s sea port will create a regional logistics hub that will further stimulate the Saudi economy through new job and investment opportunities,” the Emaar E.C. statement said.

The maritime sector plays a key role in Saudi Arabia’s economy and ports in the country handled over 140 million tonnes of cargo last year.

First revealed in 2005 by Saudi ruler King Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz, the KAEC, being developed at a cost of 100 billion Saudi riyals ($26.6 billion), is expected to create at least one million jobs.

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