(MENAFN - Arab News) On behalf of Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah, Transport Minister Jabara Al-Seraisry yesterday launched the Red Sea Gateway Terminal (RSGT), the newest flagship box terminal at Jeddah Islamic Port.
"Red Sea Gateway is first of its kind in Saudi ports," the minister said, adding that the terminal is being handled with high professionalism, thus increasing the port's capacity and creating more job opportunities for Saudis.
A world-class terminal spearheaded by the Saudi Industrial Services group SISCO, Red Sea Gateway is also the first privately funded, Build Operate and Transfer (BOT) port development agreement in Saudi Arabia.
Al-Seraisry thanked King Abdullah for his support to the terminal project as well as for his judicious directives to strengthen the Kingdom's transport sector.
Abdul Aziz Al-Tuwaijri, chairman of Saudi Ports Authority, highlighted the development achieved by Saudi ports during the past years, adding that their capacity rose from 373 million tons in 2010 to 413 million tons in 2011.
The number of ships visited Saudi ports also increased from 10,985 in 2010 to 11,296 ships in 2011 while the volume of goods handled by the ports jumped from 154 million tons to 165 million tons during the same period.
The number of containers received by the Saudi ports rose from 5.3 million in 2010 to 5.7 million in 2011. This reflected positively on their revenue as it rose from SR2.97 billion to SR3.3 billion during the same period.
Al-Tuwaijri referred to the development of Jeddah Islamic Port, which handles the large volume of imports and exports compared to other Saudi ports.
Chairman of Red Sea Gateway Terminal, Mohamed Ahmed Zainal Alireza, thanked King Abdullah for his endorsement of the latest container terminal project at Jeddah Islamic Port.
Covering over 500,000 square meters, Red Sea Gateway Terminal was constructed to set a benchmark advancing other port terminals around the region, exploiting approaches such as intelligent design and layout, cutting-edge technologies and value-added logistics and capabilities.
It was designed to ensure efficiency within whole supply chain, meeting the demands of modern day trade. It also adds 45% annually to the existing port's capacity allowing it to do more business better.
"World trade is expanding and as a result, the container handling infrastructure in which we specialize will assume an increasingly larger role and importance in the global economy," stated the chairman. "The Kingdom's development requires a competitive infrastructure. That's why we set out to build a state-of-the-art terminal on the Red Sea," he pointed out. "Undoubtedly it has been an exhilarating journey, in the company of a dedicated team of professionals. Working together with a passion and a common goal has enabled us to keep our promise and meet our goals, delivering world-class facility for Saudi Arabia."
The Jeddah port sits on a strategic location, which makes it an obvious choice for access into the regional markets. However prior to the arrival of RSGT, it lacked both the capacity and the capability to handle the operational demands of shipping lines, and of course the new mega vessels.
RSGT has redefined standards of efficiency, capacity and capability by incorporating a mix of the best of class equipment and cutting-edge technology in the logistics industry. The terminal boasts a dedicated deep water navigation channel able to take vessels with a draft up to 16.5m, can handle the next generation of Triple E Class of mega vessels of 18,000 TEU.
Duly things have become noticeably different since RSGT, which has been operational since 22 December 2009, a date earmarking the start of commercial operations one year earlier than the targeted date. It has celebrated a number of remarkable achievements including the berthing of its first mega vessel the 14,777 TEU CSCL Star in 2011, the highest productivity figures in the region and a handling volume of 1.0 million TEU in 2011, which accounted for 25 percent of whole JIP's volume. The fully automated RSGT currently delivers an annual throughput of 1.9 million TEUs per year.
The accomplishment undoubtedly resonate with RSGT's vision to be 'an engine of growth for the economy and business' by providing world class integrated logistics solutions, as well as port development and operations.
"It would be difficult to overestimate the importance of having an efficient, reliable and secure container port in the vital area of the commercial life of any country," said Mazen Matar, a board member and former project director for Red Sea Gateway.