Saudi Arabia needs more dry docks to cope with cargo volume


Saudi Gazette report

DAMMAM — The CEO of the International Seaports Company that operates the dry port in Riyadh has said the Kingdom needs at least four new dry docks to cope with the increasing volume of imports and exports through the seaports on the Red Sea and the Arabian Gulf.

Ahmed Hanafi said the containers in the dry dock in Riyadh have increased by about 5.4 percent in the first quarter of 2018 reaching 79,000 from 72,000 in the same period last year.

He said the government was encouraging the transport of goods by freight trains from King Abdul Aziz Seaport in Dammam to the dry port in Riyadh instead of trucks in order to reduce the pressure on the roads and cut down the number of traffic accidents.

Hanafi was talking at the second forum on the transport engineering and traffic organized at Imam Abdul Rahman Bin Faisal University in Dammam.

He said the loading and unloading of any container at the Riyadh dry dock will be completed in two minutes, which is the same time at a number of international seaports in the US and Europe.

"However, the containers still remain at the port for 10 days while the international standard if only five," he added.

He said linking the Riyadh dry port with the GCC seaports and dry docks will help achieve integration among member countries.

"We need more dry docks to help achieve the Saudi 2030 Vision and its National Transformation Program," he said.

Osman Al-Shamrani, dean of the faculty of engineering in the university, said about 80 percent of the world trade is by sea transport, which is comparatively cheap.

He said seaports represent about 70 percent of size of the non-oil Saudi trade exchange.

Shamrani asked to exploit the Kingdom's geographical location especially as about 12 percent of the world trade passes via the GCC ports.

"The Kingdom's ports can play a major role in developing logistic services," he said.