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Sat 17 Jan 2009 10:53 AM

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Saudi reveals design plans for mega-port

The Red Sea port is part of the King Abdullah Economic City, which will create 500,000 new jobs.

Final blue prints for the sea port being built as part of King Abdullah Economic City (KAEC), the largest ever private finance initiative in Saudi Arabia, were unveiled Saturday.

The Jeddah-based port is being built by Emaar Economic City (EEC), a consortium headed by Emaar and a number of high profile investors from the Kingdom, and will be the consortium's flagship development in the country.

The port is part of the SR100 billion ($26.6 billion) KAEC project that will also house an industrial district, financial island, education zone, resorts and residential area.

Based on initial forecasts, the project and its several components, will create up to 500,000 employment opportunities in the various industries and service-oriented companies that will open in the city.

The port was designed in coordination with Halcrow, the international consultancy specialising in the provision of planning, design and management services for maritime projects and will be the largest in the Red Sea and one of the top 10 ports in the world.

It will have the capacity to handle 20 million TEU (twenty foot equivalent container units).

An overwhelming 10 million Saudis, approximately half the country’s national population, subscribed to the 10-day initial public offering of EEC in August 2006, setting a new record in the Kingdom’s capital market history.

Groundwork on KAEC is already underway on the project’s first boulevard – a 15 km long stretch that features over 3,000 palm trees.

Excavation work for the first city canal to run through the Red Sea Village has started.

Geotechnical investigations are being conducted for dwelling units and designs for one of the main entry gates, the first Corniche Park and marina have been completed.

There are over 500 workers on-site and the number will exceed 1,000 soon.

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