Northern Container Terminal, Jeddah Islamic Port, which has moved into the control of Gulftainer

Northern Container Terminal, Jeddah Islamic Port, which has moved into the control of Gulftainer

NCT, other terminals, now under Gulftainer

The buyout of a majority stake in Jeddah-based Gulf Stevedoring enables Gulftainer to mastermind further development at three Saudi Western and Eastern terminals

01 July 2013

Jeddah Islamic Port’s Northern Container Terminal (NCT) will be operated by Gulftainer following the UAE port operator’s acquisition of a 51 per cent stake in Jeddah-based Gulf Stevedoring Contracting Company (GSCCO).

The acquisition also allows it to manage two other terminals, namely Jubail Industrial Port and Jubail Commercial Port and makes Sharjah-based Gulftainer the largest port operator in the Middle East with regards to the number of terminals operated in the region. The company will manage 40 per cent of all the major container terminal facilities  in the Middle East that have the capacity to handle ships of 12,000 teu or greater in size, and 45 per cent of all major port capacity outside of the Strait of Hormuz. 

NCT recently underwent significant expansion which will substantially improve Jeddah Islamic Port’s capability.  The facility currently consists of 1,654 m of quay, 11 cranes, seven of which are super post-panamax, with an annual capacity of 3 million teu.  Almost 75 per cent of all container traffic to the kingdom is currently handled through the Port of Jeddah, and it is a major trade gateway for the kingdom’s container traffic.

Both Jeddah and Jubail are key growth areas in the country with strong, positive economic forecasts, following massive government investments in infrastructure. Jubail in particular, is seen as critical to economic development within the kingdom, and the government has recently invested SR800 million ($215 million) in its two facilities to increase capacity and cope with the growing flow of cargo.  In recent years, the government has also confirmed investments in excess of SR480 billion in energy and infrastructure projects in the surrounding region, which in turn is expected to spur massively increasing terminal activity.

Jubail is one of the largest industrial ports in the world and currently handles 52 million tonnes of cargo per annum, a figure expected to grow substantially in the short- to medium-term. JCP is equipped with a 1,282 m quay, five cranes and a container handling capacity of 1 million teu per annum. It is expected that this figure will continue to increase quickly, particularly with the opening of major petrochemical developments in the Jubail Industrial Zone and the planned rail link to Riyadh. GSCCO currently operates 22 commercial berths at the port, including the open sea tanker terminal.

Located on the Arabian Gulf, Jubail is home to the largest industrial zone in the world covering 8,000 hectares, and comprising petrochemical and fertiliser plants, steel works, and an industrial port as well as the world’s largest desalination plant.

Prince Abdulaziz bin Ahmed bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, chairman of Gulf Stevedoring Company, announced: “We are delighted to be partnering with Gulftainer and look forward to continuing to strengthen the relationship in the coming years. The Saudi economy is one of the strongest economies in the world thanks to the leadership of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz, and his Crown Prince. These three ports will be expanding significantly and the expertise that Gulftainer brings with it to Gulf Stevedoring and Contracting Company will be invaluable.”

Speaking on the acquisition, Badr Jafar, CEO of Crescent Enterprises and vice-chairman of the Gulftainer Group, commented: “We are very proud of our Sharjah and UAE heritage and home-grown expertise. Saudi Arabia’s growth makes it an extremely fast-paced, exciting market and I am confident that Gulftainer’s proven track record in this sector will further serve and support the evolution and development of the port and logistics sector in the kingdom in the coming years. We are honoured to partner with Gulf Stevedoring, and together we can offer a uniquely private-sector and genuinely objective approach towards port management and logistics in the country.”

Peter Richards, group managing director, Gulftainer, said, “This is an exciting time for Gulftainer as we increase our footprint across the Middle East. The industry here is growing at a rapid pace and with this acquisition we have laid a strong foundation for the company’s future not just regionally but on a global level. The road ahead is one that we look to with optimism and ensure that we are well prepared to stay ahead of the trends and deliver exceptional results for our clients.”

Gulftainer was established in Sharjah, UAE, in 1976, and is a subsidiary of Crescent Enterprises which is a UAE-based conglomerate operating globally across multiple sectors including power and engineering, aviation, healthcare, and private equity. Gulftainer launched the first dedicated container terminal in the UAE’s Port Khaled in Sharjah. The company has grown significantly, regionally and internationally, and now has established ports and logistics operations across the UAE, Iraq, Russia, Lebanon and Brazil, as well as joint ventures in Turkey and Pakistan, while also operating international freight forwarding and project logistics. Gulftainer also manages 50 million tonnes of cargo through its directly owned and managed facilities.

More Stories