Given Kuwait’s location, just south of Iraq’s narrow southern coast, and plans to link the emirate to the rest of the region through the GCC railway, there is plenty of potential for the logistics sector. If Iraq can continue to make gains in stability and economic output, it will need to consider new options for the passage of goods and even oil, and Kuwait could prove an ideal service provider.
The Kuwait Ports Authority oversees the country’s three main commercial ports – Shuwaikh, Shuaiba and Doha – of which Shuwaikh is the largest. Shuaiba is the country’s second-biggest port, and is also the site of Kuwait National Petroleum Company’s main export terminal for refined products, while Doha acts as a stopping-point for smaller boats and traditional dhows.
Expansion of all three commercial ports is planned, with some works having been carried out to modernise the facilities at Shuwaikh and Shuaiba. A masterplanning contract was tendered for Shuaiba port in mid-2009, but made little progress.
The authority’s largest planned project, however, is to transform Kuwait’s Bubiyan Island into a huge new shipping and trade hub. Bubiyan is expected to provide a capacity of 2.5 million containers a year by 2015, when it is completed.
The port is being developed in four stages: the construction of new roads and the railway scheme; the dredging of the planned harbour site; the creation of nine new docks, followed by an additional seven; and the addition of 33 new docks (bringing the total to 60) by 2033. The new deadline for commissioning of the port’s first phase is 2016, with construction scheduled for completion in April 2014. This was originally expected in 2010.
The scheme is part of a wider plan to develop the northern sub-region of Kuwait, which includes the megaproject Silk City, the Jaber al-Ahmed Bridge and the Jahra-Subiya Causeway. Progress on Silk City stalled after Kuwait called for a review of its masterplan. Initial designs for the estimated $77bn project, also known as Madinat al-Hareer, called for 250 square kilometres on the Subiya peninsula to be developed over 25 years. The causeway development has also faced several delays since the tender was first opened in 2006, due to design changes. The contract has still not been awarded.