JEDDAH: The transformation of a Saudi port into a global mega hub would be a major driver toward supporting the industrial growth plans of Vision 2030, business chiefs have said.
Saudi Global Ports Co. (SGP) on Oct. 1 took over management control of both container terminals at King Abdul Aziz Port Dammam (KAPD), making it the dock’s sole cargo facility operator.
The successful handover of the first terminal from Saudi Ports Authority (Mawani) to SGP was achieved following the signing on April 13 of a 30-year build, operate, and transfer (BOT) agreement between the two bodies.
The Saudi transport minister and Mawani chairman, Saleh bin Nasser Al-Jasser, said the backing of the Kingdom’s leadership for the transport and logistics sector had enabled the implementation of important initiatives and investments to strengthen the country’s seaports.
And he congratulated Mawani and SGP on reaching a key milestone toward achieving the Vision 2030 goal of using Saudi Arabia’s strategic geographic location to its logistical competitive advantage in helping to diversify the economy.
Abdullah Zamil, chairman of SGP, said: “I would like to express my gratitude to the management and working teams from Mawani and SGP for their close partnership. The smooth transition within a short timeline under the (COVID-19) pandemic situation is phenomenal.
“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.”
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.
In addition to the transfer of equipment from Mawani, SGP has advanced the purchase and commissioning of more than 200 new items of handling equipment for both terminals.
Mawani’s president, Saad bin Abdul Aziz Al-Khalb, said: “I am confident that SGP will continue to raise the performance and customer service levels across both terminals through its strong business practices.
“SGP invests and develops key infrastructure, focusing on environmentally friendly and technologically sophisticated systems to develop a modern Saudi workforce.”
SGP’s development and modernization plans will integrate both container terminals into a mega container hub, capable of competing globally and well-positioned for the future.
When the planned expansion works are completed, KAPD’s annual container-handling capabilities will increase to an estimated 7.5 million twenty-foot equivalent units (a measure of cargo capacity).
SGP’s estimated total investment of more than SR7 billion ($1.87 billion) is expected to be the largest seaport spend by a single operator under a public private partnership in the Kingdom.
Wan Chee Foong, port operator PSA International’s regional CEO for the Middle East and South Asia, said: “As both a shareholder and technical partner, PSA is committed to providing its expertise and leveraging its resources toward the transformation of King Abdul Aziz Port into a global mega hub, with modern and robust infrastructure, and through the cultivation of a strong Saudi workforce.”