Top 8: Shipping Ports in Saudi Arabia

Which of the Kingdom's maritime hubs have handled the most cargo?
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Saudi Ports Authority (SPA) has published its full-year statistics for 2009, with approximately 142.30 million tonnes of cargo being handled across the Kingdom’s main ports last year, including Jeddah Islamic Port, King Fahad Industrial Port in Jubail, King Fahad Industrial Port in Yanbu, King Abdul Aziz Port in Dammam and Jizan Port. The figures mark a decrease of 8.82% over the previous year’s volumes, with imports falling by 17.11% and exports falling by 3.07%. takes a look at the total throughput from each of the main ports, taking into account bulk cargo (solid and liquid), general cargo, containers (in tonnes), Ro-Ro and vehicles, and livestock.

8. Dhiba Port

Dhiba Port (occasionally spelt Diba Port) is strategically located at the north end of Saudi Arabia’s Red Sea coast. A natural harbour protected on all three sides by hills, it has vast hinterland on the inland frontier up to the Northeast coast of Saudi Arabia and extends up to the Mediterranean Sea on the maritime front. It is nearest Saudi’s port to the Suez Canal and other Egyptian ports.

The distance between Dhiba Port and Suez Canal is 253 nautical miles. The Vessel takes approximately 17 Hours, with average speed 12kts. to reach Suez Canal from Dhiba port.

Total tonnage in 2009: 510,153 (compared to 441,143 in 2008)

7. Jizan Port

Jizan Port is situated on the southern Red Sea coast and is very close to the main east/west sea-trade routes to Europe, the Far East and Arabian Gulf. A nearby airport offers a shuttle service to the main international airports in the Kingdom and Jizan also has excellent road access to the hinterland container depots, allowing it to serve the whole of the Arabian Peninsula's southeast.

Jizan Port is a modern, well-equipped, deep-water port with a highly skilled work force ensuring a quick efficient turn around of vessels at every opportunity.

Total tonnage in 2009: 839,447 (compared to 880,518 in 2008)

6. Yanbu Commercial Port

Yanbu Commercial Port is the nearest major Saudi seaport to Europe and North America and is the focal point of the most rapidly growing area on the Red Sea. Traditionally it has served as the nearest gateway for seaborne pilgrims bound for the holy city of Madinah. Port expansion in 1979 increased the capacity to nine berths with modern facilities and equipment. It can handle in excess of 3 million tonnes of cargo per year.

Total tonnage in 2009: 1,499,089 (compared to 1,736,500 in 2008)

5. Jubail Commercial Port

Jubail Commercial Port is considered a vital economic facility due to its effective role in supporting the exports and imports in the eastern province of Saudi Arabia. As the hub is characterised by its proximity to mass production centres, Saudi Ports Authority believes this will help in reducing the costs of importing and exporting commodities, while facilitating the transportation of exports to international markets. This port played an effective role in reducing the burden shouldered by king Abdulaziz port in Dammam and provided job opportunities for a large number of citizens.

Total tonnage in 2009: 3,175,216 (compared to 4,145,277 in 2008)

4. King Abdul Aziz Port, Dammam

King Abdul Aziz Port is the main gateway through which cargo from all over the world enters the Eastern and Central Provinces of the Kingdom. It is strategically placed to service the requirements of the oil industry, the continuous development of Riyadh, the capital, and the major provincial cities in the Eastern and Central Provinces.

The Port is fully self-sufficient with its own administration offices, mechanical and marine workshops, electrical, telephone and marine communications networks and water refinery. It has its own clinic, fire department and a large housing complex for port employees, with mosques and a supermarket.

There is also a busy railway to Riyadh Dry Port and a highway system connecting Dammam Port with the rest of the Kingdom and adjacent Gulf States.

Total tonnage in 2009: 19,270,315 (compared to 23,596,054 in 2008)

3. King Fahad Industrial Port, Yanbu

King Fahd Industrial Port in Yanbu lies on the Red Sea Coast some 300km north of Jeddah Islamic Port and is considered the largest port for loading crude oil, refined products and petrochemicals in the Red Sea. Located in the middle of the line between Europe and America through Suez Canal and the Far East through Bab Elmandeb, the port was developed to serve the nearby industrial complex, especially with the export of construction material and equipment.

Total tonnage in 2009: 32,987,904 (compared to 35,880,397 in 2008)

2. Jeddah Islamic Port

Jeddah Islamic Port has an excellent location in the middle of the international shipping route between east and west. The port lies on the Red Sea coast and remains the kingdom’s principal port serving the holy cities of Makkah and Madinah. The port serves the commercial centres through which 59% of the kingdom’s imports by sea are being handled. The importance of Jeddah Islamic Port increased when the Kingdom was developing into a modern and civilized country.

Total tonnage in 2009: 40,934,961 (compared to 45,721,264 in 2008)

1. King Fahad Industrial Port, Jubail

Saudi Arabia’s transformation from a raw material exporter to a gas/oil industrial producer led to the construction of King Fahd Industrial Port in Jubail in 1974. Being located adjacent to Jubail Industrial City, the port was designed for importing raw materials required by local industries, also for the export of the industrial products such as petrochemicals, refined petroleum products, chemical fertilizers and sulphur.

Total tonnage in 2009: 43,089,768 (compared to 42,461,203 in 2008)

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