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Volumes up 6.8 per cent at Saudi ports.

The eight Saudi seaports have handled a total of 72.7 million tons of cargo in the first six months of the year with an increase of 6.8 per cent over the same period last year, the Saudi Ports Authority (SPA) announced last week. It added that imports rose 24.17 per cent while exports fell by 4.12 per cent.

The chairman of the SPA, Khalid Boubshait, attributed the increase in overall volumes to a sharp rebound in container traffic. He added that the authority was looking to expand the capacity of the container terminals in Jeddah and Dammam ports. In a report, the SPA said the Jeddah Islamic Seaport accounted for the biggest volumes, handling 24.05 million tons representing 25.17 per cent of activity at all ports.

The report said most of the goods handled by the Jeddah port consisted of foodstuffs and building materials while King Abdul Aziz Port in Dammam held second place handling 11.57 million tons.

The report said the SPA increased its revenues over expenditures by 12.5 per cent during the first quarter of 2010. The report put revenues at SR 698 million compared to SR 620 million during the same period last year. The SPA had predicted an increase of10percentto12percentinthe volume of goods during the current year with capacity being expanded at ports. According to the report, King Fahd industrial ports in Jubail and Yanbu respectively handled 21.6 million and 11.8 million tons of cargo consisting mainly of petrochemicals and refined oil products.

The report said the number of containers had increased by 20.97 per cent which cumulatively was put at 2.56 million tons of goods. Boubshait recently announced that the SPA had completed a study to push ahead with the privatization of seaports. He had also touched on the authority's plans to increase the operational capacity of the seaports to 15 million containers by 2020.

The Saudi Press Agency (SPA) quoted Boubshait as saying at the recent Saudi 2010 Naval Forum that the privatization of the seaports would soon be announced. He said the private sector was currently handling about 70 per cent of work at seaports with three giant terminals at the Jeddah port being run by the private sector. Boubshait said the authority was trying to make full use of its 1.4-billion riyal budget to increase the operational capacity of the seaports by upgrading their basic infrastructure.

He also said the ports were ready to cope with rapid growth of exports and imports. "Our ports have witnessed vertical and horizontal growth. The Jubail industrial seaport which was handling 100,000 containers is now handling 300,000," he said.

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Publication:Saudi Economic Survey
Date:Aug 9, 2010
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