Saudi Arabia is considering building a new port in Jeddah to handle rising imports of food to the kingdom.

According to Reuters, the plans for the new port, which will support Jeddah Islamic Port, are currently under study with the Saudi Ports Authority which has not yet decided on the size of the port or the number of docks it will have.

The new port will deal with non-container food imports such as wheat and barley imports, the report says.

Saudi Arabia began reducing its production of wheat in 2008 as it was severely depleting the kingdom’s water supplies. It used to produce 2.5 million tonnes of durum and soft wheat each year which was just enough to meet domestic demand.

A number of investors from the kingdom are now being encouraged to acquire farmland in places such as Africa to enable the kingdom to import more food.

The kingdom aims to be entirely reliant on wheat imports by 2016.

Jeddah Islamic Port is Saudi Arabia’s main port and its third terminal, the Red Sea Gateway, opened in January 2010 with a capacity of 1.5 million twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs).

The total capacity at the port is now 7 million TEUs.