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US$33 billion Middle East port expansion underway

The Middle East has committed to a series of ambitious port developments, worth in excess of US$33 billion, to capitalise on record cargo volumes being shipped into the region, according to the organiser of Seatrade Middle East Maritime 2008.
STEERING TOWARDS A BRIGHT FUTURE: Record cargo volumes are fuelling around 50 port development projects in the Middle East, with individual budgets ra
STEERING TOWARDS A BRIGHT FUTURE: Record cargo volumes are fuelling around 50 port development projects in the Middle East, with individual budgets ra

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The Middle East has committed to a series of ambitious port developments, worth in excess of US$33 billion, to capitalise on record cargo volumes being shipped into the region, according to the organiser of Seatrade Middle East Maritime 2008.

The statistics, which have been collated by research company Proleads, take into account the expansion of existing seaports and development of new facilities throughout the region. In total, approximately 50 projects are currently underway, with individual budgets ranging from $10 million to $5.5 billion.

The biggest seaport being planned is Qatar’s New Mesaieed Port ($5.5 billion), heading a top 10 of new or expansion port projects. The others are: King Abdullah Economic City Seaport, Saudi Arabia ($5 billion); Khalifa Port and Industrial Zone, Abu Dhabi ($2.5 billion); Sirte Port, Libya ($2 billion); Ras Laffan Port, Qatar ($1.2 billion); Duqm Port, Oman ($1.1 billion); Bubiyan Island, Kuwait ($1 billion); Ras Al Zour Port, Saudi Arabia ($700 million); Red Sea Gateway Terminal, Jeddah Islamic Port, Saudi Arabia ($450 million); and the Port Sultan Qaboos project in Oman ($400 million).

“The emergence of strong and diversified maritime companies and operators is making the Middle East, and the Arabian Gulf in particular, one of the most dynamic and vibrant international maritime centres in the world,” said Christopher Hayman, managing director of Seatrade, which is organising the forthcoming Seatrade Middle East Maritime 2008 exhibition.

The event, which is being held from 14th-16th December at Dubai International Convention and Exhibition Centre, will take place under the patronage of HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, vice president and prime minister of the United Arab Emirates and ruler of Dubai.

“Middle East optimism in the maritime industry is founded on increasing demand for oil and gas worldwide, the vital role the region plays as a strategic trading hub as the link between Europe and the Far East, and the continuing strength and vibrancy of regional economies,” continued Hayman.

“The region is home to one of the world’s largest container ports in Dubai’s Jebel Ali, which currently handles around 11 million TEUs a year. If growth continues at the same pace as today, Jebel Ali expects to increase capacity to 80 million TEUs by 2030. The port is already expected to add a further five million TEUs by early next year.”

Middle East port operators are not only expanding in the region, but are also leveraging their considerable expertise throughout the world. Dubai’s DP World, the fourth-largest
port and terminal operator worldwide, is starting operations across the Indian subcontinent, Far East, Europe, United States and Australia. The company, which is supporting and exhibiting at Seatrade Middle East Maritime, handled more than 43.3 million TEUs across its portfolio of 42 terminals in 22 countries last year, an increase of 18% over 2006.

“The Seatrade Middle East Maritime exhibition and conference is held every two years and has evolved into one of the world’s fastest-growing maritime events,” said Hayman.

“We expect participation to increase by 30% in 2008.”

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