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No cargo crisis at Dammam port, says official.

Byline: Faiz Al-Mazrouei

DAMMAM: Naeem Al-Naeem, director general of Prince Abdul Aziz Port in Dammam, said that the port has not experienced any lack of berths or unloading difficulties for visiting ships.

"The loading and unloading operations at the Dammam port are continuing as usual. Several thousand containers presently found at the wharfs do not signal a crisis, but rather they are waiting for ships to arrive. Some of the containers would be shifted to a dry dock while the remaining containers would be delivered to local importers," Al-Naeem said in a statement yesterday.

With the recent installation of new cranes, the Dammam port is equipped to handle two million containers annually.

The facility for electronic data transfer between importers and the Customs Department has also helped speed up the clearance of consignments, Al-Naeem said in his statement.

He said in an earlier statement that a new container terminal would be built at the port at a cost of SR1 billion and its wharfs would be renovated at a cost of SR35 million.

It was reported last month that the ports in Saudi Arabia were facing severe congestion, prompting several ships to skip their scheduled visits for want of berths.

The Jeddah Islamic Port was among the most affected by the crisis. Many ships had reportedly skipped the port for several weeks in a row due to extreme delays and were unloading at nearby ports, causing a lot of inconvenience to both exporters and importers. They unloaded their shipment at different ports in order to avoid fines for the delay in delivering the goods at the Jeddah port.

While some experts have predicted the port crisis to continue until the end of the year, the Saudi Ports Authority announced in late September that the problems were resolved with the cooperation of other government departments.

The congestion at the ports was attributed largely to the increase in imports before Ramadan and Haj seasons.

The Kingdom has plans to invest SR30 billion to modernize its eight seaports.

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Publication:Arab News (Jeddah, Saudi Arabia)
Date:Oct 8, 2008
Words:350
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