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King Abdullah Port to tender second concession early next year

King Abdullah Port to tender second concession early next year
Officials from Saudi Arabia’s booming first-ever private sector facility, King Abdullah Port (KAP), at King Abdullah Economic City, Rabigh, say a second terminal concession will be tendered early next year.

“Next year we are trying to bring another operator,” said Abdullah Hameedadin, md of Ports Development Company, the developer of KAP, speaking to Seatrade Maritime News on the sidelines of TOC Middle East in Dubai.

“We are going to go soon to the market to see a second operator for the ports,” said Hameedadin. “This year we are going to close 1.3m teu. From zero [in 2013] to 1.3m teu, our plans continue,”

KAP has been developed by Ports Development Company, a joint venture of the Saudi Binladin Group and the UAE’s Emaar The Economic City Co.

Neville Bissett, gm of KAP, said the second concession would be tendered and that there was likely to be significant global interest, as the port lies on the main global shipping trunk route between Colombo and Suez.

“We are looking to do the preliminary work as soon as possible, probably this month, next month, and then get a tender out probably in the first quarter of next year. The terminal will become available in June-July,” Bissett said.

“We will probably issue the final award in two-to-two-and-a-half months. There is a lot of interest. Most of the major players [are likely to] be involved,” he said.

“KAP is private property. We can tailor the tender to what our requirements actually are. We want to work with the best names, the best operators. We may do a prequalification [round].”

Bissett said there might be a narrowing down of a final pool of pre-qualifiers. “It depends who comes in with financially viable, operationally viable, offers. It’s a combination of the two.”

The incumbent, National Container Terminals, is today the sole concessionaire at the port, with a remit to run the original terminal at the port, consisting of 4m teu capacity, for 50 years.