26 September 2016
DAMMAM-- Plans are on the anvil to link King Abdul Aziz Seaport in Dammam and Jubail Industrial Port through the rail line over the next few years, according to Dr. Nabil Al-Amoudi, Chairman of the Saudi Port Authority who delivered a keynote address at a shipping conference at Al-Sharqiya Chamber Sunday.

The conference marking the World Maritime Day was inaugurated by Eastern Province Emir Prince Saud Bin Naif, and was hosted by the Ministry of Transport in cooperation with the International Maritime Organization. The theme of the conference was "Growth and Development of Shipping Industry under Vision 2030 Perspective".

Dr. Nabil Al-Amoudi, in his address, said the Kingdom was celebrating the World Maritime Day this year within the framework of Vision 2030. He said maritime was an important component of the growth and development of the Kingdom as more than 90 percent of export or import goods were moved through shipping only. He said the shipping industry in the Kingdom was ready to accept the challenges of Vision 2030 goals and will emerge as a main player in fulfilling the dream and aspirations of the government.

The Port Authority Chairman disclosed that work was progressing fast at the Jeddah Islamic Port to enhance navigational channels in order to receive more giant ships. Once the project is completed, the capacity of the Jeddah Port will be doubled especially in reference to giant ships. He expected that the expansion project will be completed within the next eight months. Major funding of the expansion project comes from the private sector.

He said similar expansion plan was on the anvil for Dammam's King Abdul Aziz Seaport and he expected major investment from the private sector who will eventually be benefitted by the expansion.

He said the strategy of the port authority was to gradually shift the operation, maintenance and management to the private sector, while the port authority will restrict its role as a regulatory body, similar to that of Civil Aviation Authority.

He further said the problem of overcrowding has been completely controlled at King Abdul Aziz Seaport in Dammam and at Jeddah Islamic Port. He said at Dammam port, now goods are directly loaded from ship to goods train on their way to dry port in Riyadh. He hailed the cooperation of all the relevant authorities and bodies.

The Minister of Transport Suleiman Bin Abdullah Al-Humaidan said the slogan for this year's World Maritime Day celebrations -- Maritime Transport Indispensable for the World --was most relevant and appropriate as the slogan emphasizes the role of maritime in the growth and development of businesses all around the world.

© The Saudi Gazette 2016