Red Sea Development Co. signs $2bn in new contracts, 70% to local companies

Red Sea Development Co. signs $2bn in new contracts, 70% to local companies
The Red Sea Project aims to make a great impression in the tourism sector, as the project looks to attract one million visitors by the end of 2030. (File/Shutterstock)
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Updated 26 November 2020

Red Sea Development Co. signs $2bn in new contracts, 70% to local companies

Red Sea Development Co. signs $2bn in new contracts, 70% to local companies

The Red Sea Development Co. (TRSDC) signed more than 500 contracts for a total value of $2 blln so far, out of which 70 percent were awarded to local companies, Ahmed Ghazi Darwish, Chief of Staff at TRSDC, told Argaam in an exclusive.

He further added that construction of the base camp at the Red Sea project started in February 2019, noting that the developer seeks to have Saudi companies as partners in the project success.

The public-private partnership (PPP) initiative is in final stages, the official explained, adding that new partnerships, which will provide utility services including water, electricity and waste treatment, will be unveiled by the end of the year.

TRSDC signed an agreement with Saudi-based Nesma & Partners Contracting Co. Ltd. and Almabani General Contractors for the airside infrastructure works contract for the mega Red Sea tourism project’s international airport, Darwish pointed out.

The company contracted Saudi Al-Majal Al-Arabi Holding Group to build accommodation for workers and Saudi Arabian Real Estate Infrastructure Co. (Binyah) to construct a 77-kilometer (km) road network at the Kingdom’s upcoming tourist destination.

Moreover, Dubai-based DuBox Precast Products Industrial, a subsidiary of Amana Contracting Group, was awarded by TRSDC a contract to build a factory in Rabigh to transport manufactured products to the project site. The factory provided many job opportunities for nationals in the province.

Darwish said TRSDC is planning to raise SAR 15 billion finance from five Saudi banks, regarding which the details will be revealed soon.

He also affirmed that tourism will be the second important sector after oil and will create jobs, as well as contribute to the Kingdom’s gross domestic product (GDP).

“Job opportunities account for 10 percent of the global tourism industry, compared to 3.4 percent in the Kingdom, thanks to Umrah and Hajj seasons,” the official noted.

Tourism will be a key contributor to the economic growth of Saudi Arabia, Darwish added, noting that mega projects, including NEOM, Qiddiya and The Red Sea support Vision 2030, overseen by the Public Investment Fund (PIF).

The Red Sea Project aims to make a great impression in the tourism sector, as the project looks to attract one million visitors by the end of 2030.

Darwish also confirmed that TRSDC is coordinating with environmental experts to determine the viability of construction and development of some islands to preserve wildlife and the environment.

There are more than 90 islands, out of which 22 will be developed, while nine others will be nature reserves.

Finally, Darwish said the COVID-19 pandemic accelerated the project implementation, highlighting that there has been a renewed focus on the work and signing of new contracts.

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Careem welcomes Saudization of ride-hailing sector, eyes further investment

Careem welcomes Saudization of ride-hailing sector, eyes further investment
Updated 23 min 41 sec ago

Careem welcomes Saudization of ride-hailing sector, eyes further investment

Careem welcomes Saudization of ride-hailing sector, eyes further investment
  • Careem said the company had been affected by the pandemic because workers stayed at home and cut down on their travel

DUBAI: Ride-hailing service Careem has welcomed a government decision to fully localize the sector in the Kingdom, saying the move will help to create more jobs for Saudi drivers.

The Saudi Ministry of Transport said the new rule would have limited impact as citizens already made up 96 percent of the workforce in the ride-hailing sector.

“We are proud that over 100,000 Saudi nationals are finding income-earning opportunities with Careem each month,” a Careem spokesperson told Arab News. “We’ve worked hand-in-hand with the Transport General Authority and Ministry of Human Resources and Social Development to help the Kingdom achieve its ambitious agenda, and applaud the efforts the government is making to support Saudis working in the ride-hailing sector.”

The spokesperson added that Careem planned to continue investing in the Kingdom with a greater range of transportation and delivery services. 

Although Careem did not give specific numbers for its operations in Saudi Arabia, it said it had 33 million registered users in 13 countries across the region and operated in 28 Saudi cities.

Ibrahim Manna, managing director of global markets at Careem, said the company had been affected by the pandemic because workers stayed at home and cut down on their travel.

“COVID-19 has impacted our ride-hailing, starting in March,” he told Arab News. “This is a natural result of lockdowns, curfews and other limitations of movement, changing user behavior and habits in daily life.”

But while the ride-hailing service decreased, food delivery demand soared.

“Delivery was one of the big growth levers,” he added. “Due to the change in the daily lives and needs of the customer, we adapted quickly and provided them with what they needed most. We partnered up with many stores, pharmacies and restaurants, in order to deliver essentials to citizens in Saudi Arabia during a difficult time.”

On Thursday Mueed Al Saeed, assisting vice president of Land Transport Regulation of the Public Transport Authority, said there were 16 companies including Careem licensed to operate ride-hailing services in the Kingdom.

He also said 300 million trips had been carried out during the past three years, and that there were 250,000 drivers actively working for these services.