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01/05/2020 – News / Shipping / Container Terminal / BOT / Saudi Ports Authority / Saudi Global Ports

Signing of KSA’s largest BOT agreement heralds major transformation at King Abdulaziz Port


Saudi Ports Authority (MAWANI) and Saudi Global Ports (SGP) have signed a new Build, Operate and Transfer (BOT) agreement for the Container Terminals in the King Abdulaziz Port in Dammam over a virtual signing ceremony. Representing an investment of over seven billion Saudi riyals, the new deal represents the largest BOT agreement in the Kingdom’s history.

Under the patronage of HRH Prince Saud bin Nayef bin Abdulaziz, Governor of the Eastern Region, MAWANI remotely signed with Saudi Global Ports (SGP) what it said was “the largest 30-year BOT Agreement in the Kingdom”. Investments are expected to exceed SAR 7 billion to develop and operate the new container terminals at Dammam’s King Abdulaziz Port.


Remote signing of record deal


The remote agreement signing was attended by HE Eng. Saleh Al-Jasser, Minister of Transport and Chairman of the Saudi Ports Authority; Mr Khaw Boon Wan, Co-ordinating Minister for Infrastructure & Minister for Transport of Singapore; HE Eng. Saad bin Alkhalb, President of Saudi Ports Authority; and Eng. Abdullah Al-Zamil, Chairman of Saudi Global Ports.


The BOT agreement represents a major step toward achieving Saudi Ports Authority’s strategic objectives and development plan, by conceding some of its services in partnership with the Ministry of Transport and with the support of the National Center for Privatization. 


The Agreement activates the MoUs signed in the presence of HRH Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdul Aziz, Crown Prince, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defense, during the inauguration of the National Industrial Development and Logistics Program (NIDLP).


Mega container hub


Upon assuming the responsibility of managing both Container Terminals, SGP will embark on a development and modernisation programme to transform King Abdulaziz Port into a ‘mega container hub’ and increase the Port’s capacity to an estimated annual handling capacity of 7.5 million Twenty-foot Equivalent Units (TEUs) once the planned expansion works are fully completed. 


With a total estimated investment of more than SAR 7 billion, the new hub will provide more than 4,000 job opportunities in the port and logistics sector. 


The mega project forms part of the continuous developments carried out by MAWANI across Saudi Arabia’s ports. 


Sustainable and technologically advanced systems


Under this agreement, SGP is to invest and develop key infrastructure such as berths and container handling equipment, and will more than double the existing container handling capacity of King Abdulaziz Port in Dammam. 


The investments will focus on environmentally friendly and technologically sophisticated systems, including the adoption of automation to develop a modern Saudi workforce.


“The continuous developments in Saudi ports come in line with the national efforts to achieve goals and pillars of our country’s ambitious vision to promote sustainable economic development and raise competitiveness,” announced HE Eng. Saleh Al-Jasser, Minister of Transport and Chairman of Saudi Ports Authority. 


He also indicated the importance of this Agreement to raise the operational and logistical performance level, and to develop the infrastructure of Saudi ports – which would in turn contribute to achieving regional leadership and international competition.


Eng. Al-Jasser went on to explain the expected economic feasibility and impact of this new Agreement, which he said would enhance logistics, raise the reliability of supply chains, support local and international trade, and contribute to raising the rank of the Kingdom to one of the top 25 best countries worldwide in the logistics performance index. He added that the Agreement would also attract new investments to the national economy, support local content and national industries and increase the national exports and imports that contribute to creating promising investment opportunities.


Boosting capacity by over 120%


HE Eng. Saad Alkhalb, President of the Saudi Ports Authority (MAWANI), said the new BOT Agreement at King Abdulaziz Port is a continuation of the Agreements concluded by MAWANI last December to develop container terminals at Jeddah Islamic Port with investments exceeding SAR 9 billion. He indicated that the total expected investments in Jeddah Islamic Port and King Abdulaziz Port in Dammam amount to approximately SR 17 billion. 


“These new Agreements will contribute mainly to developing berths, increasing the capacity of container terminals in King Abdulaziz Port by more than 120 per cent, and providing integrated solutions to operate container terminals. They achieve technological and information integration and automation of operating systems and set environmentally friendly operating practices, which contribute to strengthening their leading role in the global maritime traffic and supporting the import and export operations,” he added.


Qualitative shift in systems and procedures


Mr Khaw Boon Wan, Singapore’s Co-ordinating Minister for Infrastructure and Minister for Transport, said he valued this partnership as it strengthens the relations and co-operation between the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the Republic of Singapore. He also indicated that Saudi Arabia’s ports are witnessing a qualitative shift in their systems and procedures by launching more advanced services in such ports along the western and eastern coasts of the Kingdom.


Eng. Abdullah Al-Zamil, Chairman of the Saudi Global Ports (SGP), said, “Today, we are proud to sign the largest single BOT Agreement in the Kingdom to develop container terminals at King Abdulaziz Port. I appreciate this successful and ambitious partnership with the Saudi Ports Authority, which reflects our commitment to achieving aspirations of our wise leadership in the Ports and Maritime Transport Sector. Our company relies on innovation in its products by applying the best international standards in the field of port operation with the assistance of qualified national cadres.”


Arabian Gulf coast’s ‘king of ports’


King Abdulaziz Port is the largest Saudi port on the Arabian Gulf coast. Featuring 43 berths, spanning 19 km² and with a capacity of 105 million tons, it is an integrated trade gateway linking the Kingdom with the world. 


King Abdulaziz Port is linked with Riyadh Dry Port via railway, which facilitates goods from all over the world entering the Eastern and Central Regions of the Kingdom.


The port provides comprehensive operational services and features modern handling equipment that enables the port to handle various types of cargo. Its facilities include two advanced container terminals, one refrigerated cargo terminal, two general cargo terminals, two cement plants (one for exporting black cement and clinker and one for white cement), a bulk grain terminal, an iron ore handling terminal, a naval vessel manufacturing area and an oil & gas platform. The port contains a ship repair facility that includes two floating ship docks to accommodate ships up to 215 metres long.

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