EXCLUSIVE: Saudi Arabia to expand port capacity

07 February 2018
King Abdullah Port has reported a 21 per cent increase in annual throughput in 2017

Saudi Arabia’s first privately-owned port is set to expand its container terminal capacity by up to 1.5 million twenty-foot equivalent (TEU) units, according to Rayan Mustafa Qutub, CEO of King Abdullah Port.

Speaking to MEED on the sidelines of the BreakBulk Middle East Conference in Abu Dhabi, Qutub said the expansion will be undertaken with the installation of additional new gantry cranes and other new equipment.

Qutub declined to disclose the budget for the planned upgrade but confirmed that “it is above and beyond the $2.7bn that has been invested in the development of the port.”

Qutub also hinted at an imminent dredging work at the port’s north basin, although he declined to provide further details.

Run by Ports Development Company, a joint venture of Dubai-based developer Emaar and local Huta Marine, the container terminal at King Abdullah Port reported an annual throughput of 1,695,322 TEU by the end of 2017, a 21 per cent increase compared to the previous year.

The port, which began operating in the last quarter of 2013, also managed to increase its transshipment volume by 28 per cent compared to 2016, while the number of vessels received by the port increased to 820 vessels in 2017, up 14 per cent from 716 vessels reported in 2016.

It is understood that the port recorded a 4 per cent average increase in import and export activities in 2017, with increase in imports (5 per cent) surpassing that of exports (3 per cent).

The port’s container terminal has a current capacity of 3 million TEU. The port’s masterplan envisages a total capacity of 20 million TEU, comparable to the current capacity of Dubai’s Jebel Ali Port, upon completion.

The port is located in King Abdullah Economic City (KAEC), about 90 kilometres away from Jeddah's King Abdulaziz International airport, the country's largest and busiest airport.

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