Developing Mega Container Port in Saudi Arabia

expansion of container operations at Saudi Arabia’s King Abdulaziz Port Dammam
Container terminal at Saudi Arabia’s King Abdulaziz Port Dammam (file photo)

Published Oct 8, 2020 6:33 PM by The Maritime Executive

Efforts are proceeding to develop Saudi Arabia’s King Abdulaziz Port Dammam (KAPD) into a mega container terminal and regional hub for shipping. Less than six months after signing a 30-year Build, Operate and Transfer (“BOT”) agreement operations of the two container terminals was transferred from the Saudi Ports Authority (Mawani) to the newly established Saudi Global Ports Company (SGP), which will oversee the expansion of the terminal operations. Singapore’s PSA is an investor in the new project.

Since the signing of the BOT agreement, Mawani and SGP have worked closely on various activities including manpower retention, transfer of assets, engagement of the port community, and collaboration with stakeholders like Tabadul and Customs Authority. In addition to the transfer of equipment from Mawani, SGP has advanced the purchase and commissioning of more than 200 new handling equipment to facilitate smooth operations at both terminals.

“I would like to express my gratitude to the management and working teams from Mawani and SGP for their close partnership,” said Abdulla Zamil, Chairman of SGP. “The positive relationship will be the catalyst to accelerate the developments to elevate the seaport and logistics capabilities of Dammam to support the industrial growth initiatives under Saudi Vision 2030.”

SGP’s development and modernization plans will integrate both container terminals into a mega container hub, capable of competing globally. When the planned expansion is completed, KAPD’s annual container handling capacity will increase by 120 percent to an estimated 7.5 million TEUs annually. The project, which is estimated to cost more than $1.8 billion, is expected to be the largest seaport investment by a single operator under a public private partnership in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

“We would like to thank our shareholding partner PIF, Mawani, and the Kingdom for their strong support and confidence in SGP,” said Wan Chee Foong, Regional CEO of Middle East South Asia, PSA International. “As both a shareholder and technical partner, PSA is committed to providing its expertise and leveraging its resources towards the transformation of King Abdulaziz Port into a global mega hub, with modern and robust infrastructure, and through the cultivation of a strong Saudi workforce.”

King Abdul Aziz Port in Dammam is the Saudi Arabia’s main port in the Arabian Gulf. In has a total of 42 berths, eight of which are currently dedicated to container handling.