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            october 14, 2019

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RSGT to take over managment of Jeddah Islamic port's NCT


The largest terminal operator at Jeddah Islamic Port (JIP), Red Sea Gateway Terminal (RSGT), is increasingly confident that it could realise its goal of assuming the management and operation of the North Container Terminal (NCT) early next year, reported Seatrade Maritime News.
RSGT CEO Jens Floe said he expected the negotiation phase of the new NCT concession to be wrapped up within the "next six months", meaning that the terminal operator hopes to start work at the facility as early as next year.
"We signed an MOU with the Saudi Ports Authority (Mawani) one-and-a-half months ago to take over NCT and consolidate the whole north end of the port by January 2020. The negotiations on the concessions have not been finalised yet.
"We have taken a good first step for forwarding the Saudi Port Authority (Mawani's) masterplan for consolidation (at Jeddah Islamic Port)," Mr Floe said on the sidelines of the Saudi Maritime Congress in Riyadh.
"The government wishes to consolidate the number of operators."
Currently, Gulf Stevedoring and Contracting Co (GSCCO) oversees operations at NCT, and a move by RSGT to dethrone it would mean that its business would inevitably be downsized to a remit to manage Jubail Commercial and Industrial Ports alone, bringing to a close its multi-facility role on the east and west coasts. The UAE's Gulftainer took a 51 per cent stake in GSCCO in 2013.
In a January 28 press release, RSGT said it would, as set out in the MOU, "consolidate the container facilities in northern part of Jeddah port and execute a comprehensive development plan upgrading and adding berth capacity, while modernising yard and all support facilities, including RSGT's existing terminal."
RSGT has moved aggressively to consolidate its status in JIP, seeing the 19,000 TEU CSCL Globe call to take advantage of its 16.5 metre draft. Officials said 14,000 TEU vessels call at RSGT regularly.
"This will create a world-class facility capable of serving the important local market, while also catering for the growing regional transshipment trade in line with key Vision 2030 objective of making the Kingdom a key logistics player in the region," the RSGT release continued.
Competition for assets and business is intensifying on the Saudi west coast, as the rivalry intensifies between JIP, the main west coast import-export gateway, and King Abdullah Port (KAP), Saudi Arabia's second largest facility by throughput last year. While KAP claims to be the kingdom's transshipment hub of choice, RSGT maintains that its transshipment business is bigger than that of KAP's.
Container volumes at KAP, located 120 kilometres north of Jeddah, grew 36 per cent to 2.3 million TEU in 2018.
Saudi Transport Minister Nabil Al Amoudi said that a marked rise in imports and transshipment has taken place on the west coast, with transshipment increasing significantly. He said that this was due to JIP and KAP's natural geographic location, adjacent to centres of consumption, industry and development.

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