(MENAFN - Arab News) Expansion of Eastern Province manufacturing took another step forward Tuesday with the launch of a third industrial city.
Eastern Province Gov. Prince Mohammad bin Fahd and Commerce and Industry Minister Tawfiq Al-Rabiah laid the cornerstone for Dammam 3 in the presence of a number of high-ranking officials, diplomats and executives from some of the top multinational and Saudi companies along with foreign investors.
"This is a proud moment for Saudi Arabia," said Prince Mohammad. "The new city will generate jobs and foster unprecedented growth."
The governor commended the efforts of the Saudi Industrial Property Authority (MODON) in boosting the Kingdom's industrial sector by providing infrastructure for development. "Industries can and have played a big role in the Kingdom's diversification drive, giving added value to its resources," said Prince Mohammad.
Al-Rabiah thanked the governor for his continuous support for industrial and economic development in the Eastern Province. Dammam Industrial City 3 is expected to attract about 2,000 industries with a capital investment of SR30 billion. "We have spent SR804 million on the development of Dammam Industrial City 2, while SR600 million has been allocated for the development of Dammam Industrial City 3. It includes construction of infrastructure facilities and a transformer."
He said the new city would cover an area of 48 million square meters and is located on the GCC (Majlis Taawun) Road which is about 45 km from Dammam's King Abdul Aziz Port.
Al-Rabiah thanked all those who contributed to the establishment of industrial cities including officials of Modon, the municipality and governorate, Saudi Electricity Co. and the Transport Ministry as well as industrialists.
MODON Director General Saleh Al-Rasheed said the number of industrial cities in the Kingdom increased from 14 (developed over 40 years) to 28 during the last four years while the number of industries doubled from 1,600 to 3,000.
"The total area of industrial cities will reach 160 million square meters by 2015," he said.
Al-Rasheed disclosed plans to establish new industrial cities using modern technology to increase exports and create more jobs for Saudis.
A number of new deals were signed on the occasion. New facilities were also inaugurated. Perma-Pipe, a leading international manufacturer of pre-insulated piping, secondary piping and leak-detection systems for oil and gas applications, opened its massive plant in the Dammam Industrial City 2.
Siemens, a global powerhouse in electronics and electrical engineering operating in the energy, infrastructure, industry and health-care sectors, formally began work on its new manufacturing and service facility. According to Siemens, the Dammam plant will be the largest of its kind in the Middle East and third at world level after its plants in Germany and the US.
"We are very pleased with the opening of our facility right here in Dammam," said Fathi El-Gendy, president of Perma-Pipe. "We appreciate the help and support extended by the Saudi government, especially the commerce and industry minister, MODON and the Eastern Province governor."
David Unger, chairman and CEO of MFRI, the parent company of Perma-Pipe, said: "Saudi Arabia offers excellent opportunities to foreign investors, and that is why we are here. This is our second plant in the Gulf region, the first being in the UAE."
Unger said his company's focus will be on young Saudis. "Localization seems to be the priority of the government, and we will surely do our part in training and hiring young Saudis," he said. "The future for the Kingdom is bright."
Perma-Pipe Managing Director Thomas Stein echoed Unger's sentiments. "We are excited about our new facility in Saudi Arabia; we bring a strong technical value proposition to the Saudi market and our focus will be on Saudization and technology transfer," he told Arab News.