JEDDAH: Diplomats from about 40 countries were given a first-hand view of Jeddah Islamic Port’s most important features and recent developments during a visit organized by the Saudi Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Tuesday.
The visitors included consuls, deputy consuls and commercial attaches from consulates in Jeddah City.
Envoys were briefed on the port’s significance in the region and its operational capabilities in regional and international maritime transport.
Jeddah Islamic Port is one of the most important economic facilities in Saudi Arabia and the Red Sea region. More than 65 percent of commercial ocean cargo in the Kingdom passes through the port. It is located in the middle of an international shipping route linking East and West, and is the largest and busiest port in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region.
The Kingdom has spent billions of dollars developing the port as a fully automated terminal with first-class facilities and equipment designed to meet the highest international standards. The investment supports Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 goals to increase efficiencies using “innovative” technology solutions.
The diplomats’ visit began with a tour of the X-ray cargo screening Station at the port.
Mohammed Al-Ghamidi, the X-ray terminal operating system director, introduced the visitors to the role of the station in detecting illegal materials smuggled through containers, such as drugs and explosives.
“About 2,500 to 3,000 containers pass through the inspection process each day at Jeddah Port,” Al-Ghamidi said.
The delegation also visited the Red Sea Gateway Terminal, which has an annual capacity of 2 TEU.
Hamdi Nadhrah, head of business development and marketing at the terminal, said: “The Red Sea Gateway Terminal is the first BOT (build-operate-transfer) project in the Kingdom and began in 2007. The private sector built the whole terminal and the channel at a cost of SR2.5 billion ($666 million).
“The terminal started fully operating in 2009 and completed its expansion plan by the end of 2017. Now we have a capacity of 2.5 million containers per year.”
Nadhrah emphasized the diverse environment of the company.
“We’re proud of having more than 20 nationalities working here. We look at ourselves as a multinational company with a lot of expertise. In addition, we were the first company to hire Saudi women in Jeddah Islamic Port.”
Rashid Al-Oraimi, Oman’s consul-general, told Arab News: “It was a successful and well-organized visit. We were introduced to important commercial landmarks in the city.
“There is considerable trade cooperation between Saudi Arabia and Oman, especially since both countries are members of the same system that strongly link them, the Gulf Cooperation Council,” he said. In 2017, about 94,500 tons of goods were exchanged between Saudi Arabia and Oman through Jeddah Islamic Port.