The Saudi Ports Authority (SPA) signed SR 1.6 billion in contracts for construction and development projects in various seaports in the Kingdom in 2012.
The projects include construction of a power generating plant at the King Abdul Aziz Port in Dammam, a container wharf at the Dhuba Port, two container wharves in the King Fahd Industrial Port in Yanbu, and a passenger and services wharf at the Yanbu Commercial Port besides a huge multistory car park at the Jeddah Islamic Port.
The contracts also include preparation of master plans for the Dammam King Abdul Aziz port and commercial ports in Jubail, Jazan, Dhuba and Yanbu.
The SPA also offers investment opportunities to the private sector in sea ports such as the operation of container terminals, dry docks and the building of ships, barges, sea platforms and the manufacture of fishing and pleasure boats and support services including running commercial markets, restaurants, post offices and tourist and visitor services, the Saudi Press Agency reported.
The SPA, which was established in 1976, undertakes development and administration of the Kingdom’s seaports. It has nine major seaports with 206 wharves from which 95 percent of the nonoil exports of the Kingdom are undertaken.
The ports are fully equipped to cope with the growing requirements of the rapidly expanding economic developments in the Kingdom. The ports are also marked for their friendly environment for foreign and domestic investments.
The government has spent more than SR 40 billion for the infrastructure and expansion of ports with the most advanced technology in the past few years.
With a government order in 1997 the Kingdom’s ports were opened to private sector participation in administrative and operational areas. The private sector, which invested SR 5.5 billion to install the most modern machinery and services, were allowed to hire wharves and other facilities on long-term leases.
The King Fahd Industrial Port in Jubail has been built to serve the needs of the new industrial city in that area with 2,400-meter-long berths that can accommodate four tankers of 300,000 metric tons.
It has become one of the largest in the world as it handles 90 percent of the exports of refined Saudi petroleum products and petrochemicals, in addition to the needs of the other industries in the city such as the import of raw materials and export of finished products. Out of the 25 wharves in the port, four can receive huge oil tankers.
The King Fahd Industrial Port in Yanbu is the largest crude oil port on the Red Sea and the longest linear port in the Middle East.
The newest seaport in the Kingdom is the SR 2.4 billion Ras Al-Khair port, 80 km north of Jubail Industrial city and commissioned in 2008. The ports in Ras Tanura and Al-Khafji are exclusively for the export of oil on the eastern cost and are operated by Saudi Aramco.