Dammam-Jeddah rail link ‘will boost Europe trade

Dammam-Jeddah rail link ‘will boost Europe trade :The president of Saudi Ports Authority, Abdul Aziz Altuwaijri, has emphasized the importance of linking Dammam and Jeddah ports by a railway line, saying it would boost Saudi Arabia’s trade with GCC and European countries.

“The Saudi Railway Organization is planning to establish a railway between Riyadh and Jeddah. This will be linked with the existing Riyadh-Dammam railway. This project will open new trade opportunities and reduce transport charges,” he said.

Altuwaijri emphasized the need to invest more money to expand the Kingdom’s ports in light of maritime transport’s continuous progress. He said higher authorities have approved the establishment of a new port in Al-Laith, south of Jeddah.

“We have already allocated land for Al-Laith port. It will be implemented soon after the completion of feasibility studies,” he pointed out.

He said Saudi ports play and important role in the economy as 90 percent of the Kingdom’s goods and cargo are transported through ports.
He said Saudi companies have proved their capability in port management and operation. “The government has given the private sector an opportunity to run 10 ports across the country,” he said.

Altuwaijri said five national companies have the expertise and capabilities to compete with international companies. He said the private sector has invested more than SR2 billion on Jeddah port and SR2 billion in Dammam Port.

Saudi Arabia is experiencing exponential growth in its ports and shipping sectors, particularly in relation to the number of mega infrastructural land and sea projects planned and currently in progress, totaling more than $30 billion within the government’s current five-year plan.

Experts presented a series of papers to more than 200 delegates at the First Saudi Maritime Congress in Dammam that highlighted the Kingdom’s rapid seaport infrastructure development and overall investment in transport and logistics.

According to Bloomberg, new mega Saudi port projects include Jeddah Islamic Port, which is currently undergoing an expansion project, which will eventually increase capacity by 45 percent.

The Red Sea Gateway Terminal (RSGT) was launched at JIP with the facility receiving its first vessel, with the RSGT project having a 1.8 million twenty-foot equivalent unit (TEU) capacity. The $510 million project has been developed on 400,000 square meters of reclaimed land and has a 740 meter main berth, plus a 390 meter feeder berth.

Other major projects include, the seaport in phase one of the $26 billion, King Abdullah Economic City (KAEC), which opened earlier this year in January and is designed to become one of the top ten ports in the world. Marafiq’s Yanbu Industrial City — Marine Facilities ($210 million) and Saudi Aramco with their Dareen Port Expansion Project ($35 million) which is due to be completed this year.
Jay New, CEO of International Port Services Company (IPS), a joint venture between Hutchison Port Holdings and the Maritime Company for Navigation which has the Dammam container terminal concession at King Abdul Aziz Port, said: “Shipping lines want to come to port for the same length of time, but with more cargo; they want to come for the same length of time, but with larger vessels, so it is our job to look after those vessels.”

Hassan Abouraya, consultant engineer, business development, international marketing & risk management executive at Zamil Offshore Services discussed the urgent requirement for a large repair facility of the Red Sea Coast.

“On the Red Sea, there are more than 25,000 merchant vessels navigating North and South. Only two old repair yards with limited docking capabilities are available in Jeddah and Suez, there is room for at least one world class ship repair yard to be built.”

Some progress has been made on that front, as Zamil Offshore itself already has plans for a joint venture project to build a large shipyard on the Red Sea coast to repair VLCC tankers up to Suezmax size and shipbuilding capabilities up to 20,000 deadweight tonnage (dwt).

Saudi-based Bahri and Aramco have also signed an MOU with Singapore-based engineering company Sembcorp Marine, to conduct a feasibility study to build a world class shipyard in Saudi Arabia capable of the design, building and repair of very large merchant vessels.


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