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Crown Prince unveils Saudi's first privately developed port in Rabigh

The seven-phase King Abdullah Port is said to feature 30 of the world's deepest berths and will eventually span 20km²

King Abdullah Port is a mega-infrastructure project that was unveiled by Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince.
© Saudi Press Agency
King Abdullah Port is a mega-infrastructure project that was unveiled by Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince.

King Abdullah Port has been officially inaugurated by Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince HRH Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz.

The port is Saudi Arabia's first-ever to be developed, managed, and operated by the private sector and, according to Saudi Arabia's state news agency, SPA, has more than 30 berths. On its website, King Abdullah Port describes its berths as being among the deepest in the world, allowing it to accommodate large cargo vessels.

The world’s most technologically advanced cranes, with a lifting capacity of close to 60 tonnes, have been set up at the port in Rabigh, which is located on the Red Sea coast and falls within Makkah Province's jurisdiction.

The Crown Prince’s inauguration of the port, to be developed in seven phases, came during his visit to King Abdullah Economic City (KAEC), a masterplanned development that spans 181km², making it slightly larger than Washington DC.

King Abdullah Port is a vital part of KAEC, and since its establishment in Q4 2013, has handled 7.2 million TEUs of containers, the facility's team said on its website. SPA reported that the "world-class port" features shipping companies, banks, and international port operators as its partners, and has attracted $3.4bn (SAR13bn) in investment.

The port, described during the Crown Prince's visit as “one of the latest mega-infrastructure projects in the Middle East”, is owned by the Ports Development Company, and is a key component of Saudi Arabia's long-term strategy to boost trade and grow its economy.

SPA's report did not reveal the construction team or total development cost of King Abdullah Port. However, construction consultancy Aecom lists the megaproject in its portfolio of work. On its website, Aecom states King Abdullah Port will eventually span 20km², and is built to handle an initial 1.7 million containers per year.

Over time, King Abdullah Port is expected to "significantly reduce traffic congestion on the roads surrounding the nearby Jeddah Port", Aecom's listing adds.

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