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New $2bn port to serve Saudi’s Neom

Neom Saudi Neom
Neom CEO Nadhmi Al Nasr said the port would be a catalyst for broader economic development in the region
  • Port on the Red Sea is pivotal to Vision 2030 ambitions
  • Planned for rising volume of container and general cargo handling
  • Kingdom aims to be a global logistics hub

More than SAR7.5 billion ($2 billion) has so far been invested in a new port at Saudi Arabia’s planned $500 billion smart city Neom, with plans to open a new terminal in 2025.

Located on the Red Sea at the crossroads of global trading routes, the port will be a critical enabler for Neom and a catalyst for broader economic development in the region, said Neom CEO Nadhmi Al Nasr.

The port – previously known as Duba Port – was transferred from national maritime regulator Madani to Neom last year.

Since the transfer, capabilities have been expanded to match the rising volume of cargo coming into Neom, including container and general cargo handling.

Al Nasr said the aim was to build one of the world’s most technologically advanced ports and “this first phase of development is a step towards realising that”.

His comments come as new figures from Mawani reveal increasing demand at Saudi ports, leading to a 13 percent year-on-year surge in container throughput during April.

The number of containers going through Saudi ports reached 681,663 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) last month, compared to 601,429 TEUs in April 2022.

Sean Kelly, managing director of the Port of Neom, said its importance will grow as development accelerates and businesses across Neom come on-stream.

Contracts for design, dredging and quay wall construction, and cargo handling equipment have been recently awarded.

The port is located at Oxagon, Neom’s home of advanced and clean industries. Kelly said that when completed it will operate at net carbon zero levels with 100 percent renewable energy at source.

As part of Saudi’s Vision 2030, the National Transport and Logistics Strategy aims to position the kingdom as a global logistics hub connecting three continents.

The total cargo count for April stood at an estimated 543,496 tonnes of general cargo, over 4 million tonnes of dry bulk cargo and 13 million tonnes of liquid bulk cargo.

The volume of food commodities fell slightly in April while livestock rose by over 2 percent and the number of vehicles rose by nearly 53 percent compared to the same month a year ago.