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6/18/2013 12:00:00 AM

With traffic continuing to rise at all of the Kingdom's major seaports, the Saudi Ports Authority (SPA) and King Abdul Aziz Port plan to spend SR 3.43 billion ($ 914 million) on port development in the Saudi Arabia.

Among these developments is a SR 615 million ($ 164 million) plan that includes a SR 191.3 million ($ 51 million) powerplant to be constructed at King Abdul Aziz Port in Dammam to boost power generation capacity from 50 megawatts to120 megawatts.
As well, a new container terminal at a cost of SR 172.5 million ($ 46 million) will be built in Dheba Port, with twoothers to be constructed at King Fahd Industrial Port in Jubail at a cost of SR 142.5 million ($ 38 million), with bothdue for completion by 2014.
In addition, more than SR 2812.5 million ($ 750 million) is to be invested into the expansion of Dammam’s King Abdul AzizPort, with SR 2006.25 million ($ 535 million) set aside for container terminal capacity expansion and SR 798.75 million($ 213 million) for other facilities, following a 10 percent increase in container handling in 2012 compared to 2011figures.
Commenting on the increase in traffic and container volume across the Kingdom, Sahir Tahlawi, general manager at JeddahIslamic Port (JIP), said: "Growth at the Red Sea Gateway Terminal in Jeddah accounted for the handling of one million TEUin 2011 and increased to over 1.5 million TEU last year, reflecting the Kingdom's massive growth of import and exports.
Overall, the SPA's development plans for all domestic seaports are an indicator that more international companies arebecoming interested and doing business with the Kingdom."
He added that in addition to expanding the seaport network and container capacity, the Kingdom has also realized leisureand tourism, as a valuable economic driver and has announced plans to build a SR 101.3 million ($ 27 million) cruiseand leisure vessel terminal at Yanbu Commercial Port, also under its key development plan.
As one of the Kingdom’s primary container hubs, the JIP has witnessed increased volumes by more than 25 percent, recordinga 5.15 percent in growth of imports and exports in the first half of the year, rising to 3.6 million tons and an averageincrease of 10.9 percent per annum forecast through 2016.
According to data from the SPA, the Kingdom's ports handled 16,264,525 tons of cargo last month, with the total for 2013at 75,172,657 tons, excluding oil.