The local Port Development Company (PDC) has started dredging works on the estimated $6bn seaport at King Abdullah Economic City (Kaec).

PDC is a joint venture created to complete the construction of the port by the port’s two developers, the local Saudi Binladin Group (SBG) and local developer Emaar, The Economic City. 

Construction on the 14 million square-metre port is expected to be finished by the first quarter of 2012, said Fahd al-Rasheed, managing director and chief executive officer of Emaar, The Economic City.

The port will have the capacity to handle more than 20 million twenty-foot equivalent unit (TEU) containers a year.

Kaec’s seaport will be equipped to receive the world’s largest vessels and will include facilities to handle cargo and dry bulk and feature designated areas for light industry and logistics. Its location on the Red Sea will provide access to markets throughout Saudi Arabia, Europe, Asia and Africa.

The port’s close proximity to the holy cities of Mecca and Medina created a need for a designated Hajj terminal which will accommodate more than 500,000 religious pilgrims each year. Hospitality, healthcare and emergency medical facilities will adjoin the Hajj terminal. 

The UK’s Halcrow designed the port and UK-based DG Jones is serving as the quantity surveyor. Two Singapore-based companies are also providing consultancy services on the port; Jurong International is advising while OPM is the project’s port consultant (MEED 18:1:09).