It’s boom time for Saudi ports

Saudi ports have witnessed a boom in expansion projects, Al-Eqtisadiah newspaper reported. The volume of projects in both sea and land ports increased to SR 4 billion, it said.

According to official data from the Saudi Ports Authority , its revenues increased during the fiscal year of 2012 to SR 3,282 million, a 10.6 percent increase — one that was more than estimated in the development plan for the same year, which was SR 2,966 million. The development plan saw an increase of 9.6 percent as compared to the previous year.

“Saudi ports are experiencing the biggest number of development projects in years,” said Ihsan Abdel Gawad, a member in the Shoura Council. He said this was a result of the generous government support and stressed that these gigantic projects would enable the ports to keep pace with the increasing volumes of imports, boost their competitiveness, and raise their capacity to new records.

“There are a number of big projects being carried out at the moment, which will link ports of the Kingdom on the Red Sea with those on the Arabian Gulf,” said Abdel Gawad. He pointed out that a railroad would link Ras Al-Khair port with ports on the Arabian Gulf.

Abdel Gawad praised the role of the Saudi Ports Authority in nourishing the national economy and sustainable development in all sectors of businesses, production and development since its establishment 36 years ago. He pointed to its contribution in the country’s comprehensive renaissance in economic, social and developmental fields. “Ports have achieved a quantum leap, from mere modest ports to upload and download goods and commodities to integrated industrial cities, as well as being a productive and yielding sector to the treasury, characterized with accurate and organized work.”

An economic analyst, Fadel Al-Buainain, said the volume of work at Saudi ports had risen significantly, had contributed to the income of the treasury, and had provided job opportunities for Saudis.

“The volume of cargo handling increased during the first half of 2012 by 23.17 percent to reach more than 92 million tons, against 75 million tons last year. The number of handled containers rose 22 percent, and transshipment containers by more than 26 percent,” said Al-Buainain.

He said the growth in the ports’ revenues had increased from SR 2.97 billion in 2010 to SR 3.3 billion in 2011. “This growth can be doubled after the completion of the current development plans,” he said.