Jeddah lands $426m dockyard

Saudi Arabia is launching an ambitious project to build its third major dockyard that can store two million containers at the Islamic Port in Jeddah.

Saudi Arabia is launching an ambitious project to build its third major dockyard that can store two million containers at the Islamic Port in Jeddah.

The US $426 million (SR 1.6 billion) project was announced last week at the Euromoney Conference in Riyadh by Dr Jabara Al Seraisry, Saudi Minister of Transport. The dockyard will be constructed under a Saudi-Malaysian pact and will be on a build, operate and transfer basis.

The date to begin construction has not been announced, although work is expected to begin soon.

"This would be the third major dockyard to be constructed in the kingdom," Seraisry said. "It would be larger than the others, and would have better loading and unloading facilities.

A second container terminal will be built at the King Abdul Aziz Port in Dammam, he said. The project signals Saudi Arabia's willingness to attract foreign investors.

Seraisry said the Saudi government has introduced regulations that allow Saudi investors to partner with foreign companies that have the experience and technology to tackle large projects.

"There will be plenty more opportunities for foreign companies that have the expertise in the relevant field," Seraisry told conference delegates.

There is plenty of international interest: a Chinese company is studying the design and construction of Saudi Arabia's ninth port at Ras Al Zour with a budget of $586 million.

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