First Saudi Arabian private port shows good growth

King Abdullah PortThe King Abdullah Port (KAP) near Rabigh on Saudi Arabia’s Red Sea coast is gaining momentum, with its throughput until May rising by 16 per cent compared to the same period last year

KAP is Saudi Arabia’s first privately-owned port facility and is also the first to be run outside the control of Saudi Ports Authority (SPA). The port has a capacity of more than 10mn twenty-foot equivalent units (TEU) and port officials said they expect throughput in excess of 1.5mn TEU for this year, compared to 497,000 TEU last year.

The port had opened in late 2013 and the growth in throughput can be partly attributed to the fact that it is compared to a low base from a slow 2014. However, KAP is attracting business from other ports in the region too. While its throughput has gone up significantly, nearby Jeddah Islamic Port (JIP) saw only a negligible increase for the period. JIP had lost business from Mediterranean Shipping Company to KAP last year, which had brought down its 2014 throughput by almost eight per cent compared to 2013.

However, ports under the purview of SPA on Saudi Arabia’s east coast have fared much better. International Port Services’ (IPS) Terminal 1 at Dammam Port saw throughput rise 15 per cent in the first five months of 2015 to about 780,000 TEU. IPS had seen throughput rise to 1.75mn TEU in 2014, up by 5.2 per cent compared to 2013. Saudi Global Ports Company’s Terminal 2 at Dammam began operations in April and has started seeming some cargo flow. Jubail Commercial Port has seen consecutive double-digit growth in throughput last two years. Starting from a low base, throughput grew by 34 per cent in 2013 and 21 per cent in 2014.

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