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Saudi grants licenses for new special economic zones

Photo: YouTube screenshot Andy Tsoi, Managing Director, MEA Division, Hutchison Ports, speaking at the Riyadh Investment Forum earlier this week (YouTube)[38].jpg
New licenses have been issued to four new Saudi special economic zones, which include major port and shipyard developments, at an investment forum in Riyadh this week.

“During the forum, four licenses were granted to the special economic zones (SEZs) in the King Abdullah Economic City, Ras Al-Khair, Jazan, and the Cloud Computing Special Economic Zone,” the state-run Saudi Press Agency said on Monday.

The Economic Cities and Special Zones Authority (ECZA), which announced the four new business friendly enclaves in April, intends to drive economic and employment growth in the Kingdom, and has put maritime development at the centre of its initiatives.

King Abdullah Economic City is home to King Abdullah Port (KAP), which today has an annual throughput of around 3m teu and is likely to have a final capacity of 25m teu on completion of the twin-basin design. Ras Al-Khair is the home port of International Maritime Industries, the Saudi shipbuilding and repair concern which is expected to launch full operations later this year.

Jazan is the location of Hutchison Ports’ latest venture in the Kingdom. Attending the forum, Andy Tsoi, managing director for the Middle East, Africa and South Asia regions at Hutchison  Ports, gave further details about the port operator’s plans after it announced the launch of Jazan City for Primary and Downstream Industries (JCPDI) Port in 2021.

“Our network in the Middle East, southeast Asia, China and Europe is one of a kind which will complement the already strong Saudi Arabian-international trade. Our focus will be on job creation, technological innovation, knowledge transfer, and strong commitment to sustainability,” he said.

Tsoi said the Royal Commission for Jubail and Yanbu would build “a very impressive industrial zone on the southern Red Sea coast, a strategic location with excellent economic and Industrial potential. There is a very favorable business environment. Hutchison Ports can leverage this global network with its expertise and contribute to the development of Jazan as a key hub for port operations and trade-related logistics in the region and connection to the world.”

Last year, the General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA) launched the Integrated Logistics Bonded Zone (ILBZ), a SEZ situated adjacent to Riyadh International Airport, as part of the Kingdom's plans to boost cargo capacity, bolster supply chains and become a global logistics hub.

According to a note by Clyde & Co., a ‘Special Economic Zone’ has been defined under the Statute of the Economic Cities and Special Zones Authority (the ECZA Statute) as a special Saudi economic zone established under the ECZA Statute. 

“SEZs are geographically delineated areas that support specific activities such as investment, trade and employment by providing competitive advantages and legislative frameworks that differ from the base economy,” the law firm said.