(MENAFN - Arab News) Makkah Gov. Prince Khaled Al-Faisal will open the world-class seaport at King Abdullah Economic City on Jan. 1. Spreading on an area of 15 million square meters, the King Abdullah Port is designed to become one of the top 10 ports in the world.
Prince Faisal agreed to open the facility during a meeting on Wednesday with Muhannad bin Abdul Mohsen Hilal, secretary-general of the Economic Cities Authority and Saleh Binladin, a representative of the company that is implementing the project.
"This is an important project," the governor said. "It will not only serve the Makkah region but also the whole Saudi Arabia."
He called for greater efforts by all departments to make KAEC project a big success. "The project was facing some difficulties. Now we have been able to overcome those difficulties as a result of our determination."
Hilal said the port is being developed by a joint venture between Saudi Binladin Group and Emaar Economic City Company. The Port Development Co. is in charge of its construction, operation and management.
"A number of agreements have been signed for implementing the project while mechanisms have been worked out to speed up import and export procedures," he said.
Speaking about the port, Binladin said it would boost the Kingdom's economy and promote its industrial exports.
"This is the first modern port in the Kingdom totally developed and financed by the private sector," he said, adding that it is located in a strategic location.
Once competed, it can accommodate about 20 million containers. It will have 30 wharfs with a depth of 18 meters, enabling it to receive large ships. It also has the largest cranes and advanced container-handling systems.
"We want to make it the main port on the Red Sea and among the 10 best ports in the world," Binladin said. It will also become a major hub for Asian and European shipping lines.
Spelling out its outstanding features, he said the port would speed up imports and exports, saving a lot of time, energy and money due to its advanced systems. It will give quick connections to major ports around the world.
The King Abdullah Port has a storage capacity of 300,000 square meters to accommodate more than 700,000 units.
Emaar Properties, the world's largest real estate company, is developing King Abdullah Economic City in Rabigh, north of Jeddah, in what has been described as the biggest project of its kind in the Gulf region.
The SR100 billion (26.6 billion) project will cover a 55 million square meter area along a 35-km shoreline on the Red Sea.
With its strategic location on the Red Sea and instant access to key cities within Saudi Arabia, the King Abdullah Port will have a designated area for light industry and logistics, and serve as a natural platform for onward movement of goods to Europe, Africa, Asia and beyond.
The port will have an integrated transport system with seamless high-speed transition from sea to rail, road and air, making the city the main gateway to the Central and Eastern Provinces as well as the entire Kingdom.
The port, with its close proximity to the holy cities of Makkah and Madinah, will have a dedicated Haj terminal that can receive over 500,000 pilgrims every season. To cater to the pilgrims' needs, there will be adjoining hotels, medical centers and other world-class amenities.
The state-of-the-art container port has a throughput capacity of 3.8million TEU/year in Phase 1, increasing to 6million TEU/year in Phase 2. There will be three slot berths to cater for mega vessels and linear berths for smaller vessels and feeder vessels.