World-Class Energy and Logistics Hub to Fuel Saudi Diversification Plans
A new, world-class energy and logistics freezone hub at the heart of Saudi Arabia’s oil and gas industry is set to boost local manufacturing capacity and fuel the kingdom’s development plans.
The 50-square-kilometre King Salman Energy Park, or SPARK, located between the cities of Dammam and Al-Ahsa, is aiming to provide investors with a base to Saudi’s burgeoning energy market, giving them easy access to oilfield and other technical services.
The complex, wholly-owned by Saudi Aramco, is expected to be fully completed in 2024.
The first phase of the project is calling for an investment of US$1.6 billion and includes a three-kilometre-square bonded logistics zone and dry port being developed by a joint venture between SPARK and Hutchison Ports.
“The dry port and logistics zone will be the gateway in the Eastern Province for the oil and gas industry,” said Barry Dekkers, chief marketing officer at Hutchison, during a Saudi Arabia Project Spotlight session at Breakbulk Middle East in Dubai.
Some 778,000 square metres will be delivered in a first phase, and will include 16 warehouse units, 47,000 square metres of container yards, 91,000 square metres of breakbulk yards, customs services and road links.
Phase one will be operational and ready in the first quarter of 2024.
A second phase will see the development of a further 1.6 million square metres. Once finished, the project will be capable of handling ten million tonnes per year of cargo.
“I see this as a very important addition,” said panellist Kapil Grover, vice president of industrial projects for the MEA region at DHL Global Forwarding. “Oil and gas is a very important vertical for us. We are working with a lot of companies and this is one of the only freezones coming up there, so it brings a lot of value.”
Alex Lewis, regional director for Middle East and India at Pentagon Freight Services, said SPARK’s proximity to the major oilfields was a massive advantage.
“The occupiers (in the zone) that you already have got confirmed as being there are the ‘who’s who’ on the target list of any forwarder, never mind an oil and gas forwarder. SPARK is of tremendous interest to us going forward.”
Find out more about SPARK in our post-session interview with Alex Lewis: