Saudi Arabia's transport infrastructure investment vital - CEO

26 October 2010 13:20  [Source: ICIS news]

BAHRAIN (ICIS)--Saudi Arabia's investments in infrastucture improvements and expansion are vital in ensuring it can accept next-generation vessels and cope with an increasing number of containers, Red Sea Gateway Terminal CEO Aamer Alireza said on Tuesday.

Alireza was speaking to delegates at the two-day Second Gulf Petrochemical and Chemical Association (GPCA) Supply Chain Conference in Manama, Bahrain.

He said: "Saudi is the seventh-largest petrochemical producer worldwide and has the biggest port network in [the] Middle East with [a volume of] 1m TEUs (20ft equivalent units) projected in 2011."

Alireza added the Saudi government is investing "an estimate of $400bn (€288bn) over the next five years" to expand and upgrade its infrastructure, including ports, airports and transportation.

"Major port capacity expansions include those in Jeddah Islamic Port, Dammam, Jubail, Jizan and Ras Al Zour," Alireza said.

"The expansion will enhance the efficiency of cargo streamline and result in better workflow," he added.

The Red Sea Gateway Terminal is the third and newest container terminal at Jeddah.

Historically, Jeddah lost transshipment volumes due to capacity limitations, but Alireza said: "We are predicting a growth of 45% over year 2010 following the commercial operation of the Red Sea Terminal in late 2009."

He added: "The next step will include debottlenecking of road networking in and out of the port to enhance efficiency to the trucking market."

($1 = €0.72)

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By: Yu Guo
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