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Editor in chief: Angelo Scorza
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06/05/19 10:48

A really regal port in Saudi Arabia

King Abdulaziz Port in Dammam promotes a diversification strategy in handling all types of goods and services

King Abdulaziz Port, the largest Saudi port on the Arabian Gulf, marks its successful story which dates back to over four decades ago. The comprehensive port is pioneering major industrial and economic developments, having expanded from a small berth capable of accommodating only 2 ships and connected to a 13-kilometre monorail off the coast of Dammam, to a huge complex of ports, shipyards and warehouses.

The Saudi Arabian port is also a base for an integrated infrastructure of factories and facilities for various maritime and marine activities, just one kilometre from the heart of Dammam.

Saudi Ports Authority operates the port using a 360° approach which not only makes it an integrated marine and maritime centre but a comprehensive one-stop shop for all Saudi maritime services as well.

“Operations at King Abdulaziz Port have started four decades ago mainly to serve the oil and gas industry, which flourishes in the Eastern Province. However, the Kingdom’s leadership had a vision to make it a comprehensive centre for the maritime industry, and this is exactly what has been achieved. The port has seen regular expansions and today, it covers 190 square kilometres and is connected to the heart of Dammam, which is 1 kilometer away. The port is the integrated commercial window that connects the Kingdom to the world and its location on the Arabian Gulf makes it ideal for exporting goods to neighbouring markets in Asia and the Indian Subcontinent. Additionally, the port’s central position on the Arabian Gulf coastline makes it a preferred destination for international shipping lines carrying goods to the Kingdom; the biggest market in the GCC.” commented Walid F. Al Faris, Director General of King Abdulaziz Port, who continued talking about the integrated capabilities of the facility: “King Abdulaziz Port can handle any type of cargo with its unique capabilities that are rarely found in a single port. It has 4 terminals operated by the best port management and operation companies. These include 2 container terminals; the first, operated by  International Port Services Company, has a capacity of 2.5 million containers TEU's and a 16 metre deep with 10 berths totalling 2,160 metres in length; it is equipped with 17 bridge cranes, 5 of them are fully operated remotely. The second terminal, operated by Saudi Global Ports Company, has a capacity of 1.5 million containers TEU's, with 2 berths totalling 700 metres in length and a 16.5 metre deep, and is equipped with 6 bridge cranes, having an additional 600,000 square metre area. The terminals are supported by a large number of mobile stackers and container cranes” stated Al Faris.

The port also has a general and bulk cargo terminal in the eastern part, operated by Globe Marine Services Company. It includes 9 berths totalling 1,740 metres in length and 12 to 14 metre deep; it features 56,000 square metre covered warehouses and 342,000 square metre open storage areas.

The central cargo terminal, operated by United Technical Co., Ltd, includes 13 berths with length 2,465 meters, and 9 to 14 meter deep, 44,800 square metre covered warehouses, and 372,000 square metre open storage areas.

“Therefore, the port is an ideal destination for huge vessels that can dock on the port’s various deep berths. Waiting time for ships to unload is minimal thanks to the quality infrastructure, modern handling equipment and the ability to store bulk and general cargo in covered warehouses to protect them from weather and damage” Al Faris added.

In addition to 4 main terminals, the port has a terminal with 33,600 square metre dimension for black cement and clinker export, and has a capacity storage silos around 30,000 tonne for black cement and a 40,000 tonnes for clinker; this terminal has a conveyor belt to directly transfer cement from the 2 silos to the ships, and can handle 800 tonnes of black cement and 700 tonnes of clinker per hour.

Moreover, the port includes a 16,000 square meter white cement terminal and 2 storage silos with a capacity of 8,000 tonnes.

The port also has a 60,000 square metre terminal for handling iron ore​​, with a capacity of 3 million tonnes per year, and 2 gantry unloading equipment, each with a capacity of 800 tonnes per hour. The port also has a 113,000 square metre grain and fodder terminal with storage silos and warehouses with modern equipment capable of handling grains.

The port’s diversification strategy aims at enhancing its capabilities to deal with various types of cargo, including grains, oils, foodstuffs, ro-ro goods such as cars, vehicles, and other types of containers, is key to its competitiveness. The port further promotes this position by providing services to ships such as fueling, food and other supply services.

“King Abdulaziz Port has a state-of-the-art infrastructure that helps the Saudi industrial and commercial sectors do business easily. The port has a 351,000 square metre storage and re-export area, including 22 thermal-insulated warehouses, six of them are air-conditioned. The port also has an inspection warehouse and two container-unloading warehouses. Saudi factories rely heavily on the port's capabilities to export its products to international markets. The port is indeed a key partner in supporting alternative economy sector” stated Al Faris, talking about the port’s import and export capabilities and supporting an alternative economy.

“What makes our port ideal in its operations is its connection to a network of modern highways linking it to all cities of the Eastern Province. As well as, it is also linked by the railway that connects directly to the Dry Port in Riyadh, the economic and industrial heart of Saudi Arabia. King Abdulaziz Port is the preferred choice for factories and companies in cross-border trade which contributes to building the kingdom's economy as one of the world's top economies. The Saudi Ports Authority is committed to streamlining cargo handling procedures. It takes just 24 hours to clear a container, making the port a hub for the world’s biggest logistics companies. Ship operators at King Abdul Aziz Port also like the seamless procedures for landing of their seafarers and crews, and the ability to visit the city and enjoy its leisure facilities and tourist attractions.

Angelo Scorza

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