The remit of the Royal Commission of Jubail & Yanbu (RCJY) is to ensure that Saudi Arabia’s two largest industrial cities work efficiently. This is a simplification of the role the commission plays, but the fact that it provides infrastructure and support to two cities on two opposite sides of the kingdom gives some idea of the work involved to achieve such a remit.
Jubail and Yanbu make up 11.5 per cent of the kingdom’s non-oil gross domestic product and employ 107,000 workers. The RCJY has invested about $22.4bn on developing the cities and 233 industries are now located there.
To date, the total investment of these industries has been more than $180bn and according to regional projects tracker MEED Projects, another $120bn-worth of schemes are at the study, design, tender or construction phase.
Such success has meant that the RCJY has taken over the running of the Ras al-Khair industrial city, which is about 60 kilometres along the coast from Jubail in the Eastern Province. Riyadh plans to turn Ras al-Khair into an industrial city that fully utilises the kingdom’s rich deposits of minerals, such as phosphates and bauxite. The city fits perfectly with the kingdom’s industrial diversification plans and it is hoped that the conversion industries based around the aluminium and fertilisers plants will flourish.
Other industrial cities in the kingdom have not progressed as quickly as hoped, but Ras al-Khair is being fast-tracked to success and the two anchor industries of fertiliser and aluminium will be fully complete by 2014. It will never rival Jubail and Yanbu, but early indications show that everything is going ahead as planned.