By Daniel Canty
US$586 million allocated for Ras Al-Zour facility
The Saudi Arabian Minister of Transport and chairman of the board of the Saudi Ports Authority will today (Tuesday 15th January) sign a contract for the design and construction of a new port in Raas Al-Zour.
The new facility, located on the central east coast of KSA, will include dedicated terminals for general cargo, liquid bulk and dry bulk goods. The US$586 million contract will be signed with China Harbour Engineering Company (CHEC) at an official ceremony in Riyadh.
President of the Saudi Ports Authority, Dr. Khaled Ahmed Bubshait said the Chinese firm had been selected following an open international bidding process in which local, European and Asian firms competed for the lucrative tender.
The announcement follows confirmation in April last year that a consortium of three national and international companies had been selected to build a north-south railway in the Kingdom. The landmark project will cover approximately 1,097 miles and provide for the transportation of freight, minerals and passengers across Saudi Arabia. The railway project is scheduled for completion in 2011.
The railway and port development projects are critical to the success of Saudi Arabia's ambitious $3.5 billion downstream oil and gas projects. The new rail links will provide vital transportation to the multibillion-dollar fertilizer plant and aluminium smelter to be developed at Ras Al-Zour by Saudi Arabian Mining Company (Ma'aden).