The private sector has pumped additional investments in Saudi ports estimated at SR 28 billion, and helped the Kingdom generate an income estimated at SR 4 billion annually since the start of the privatization policy by the Saudi Ports Authority (SPA) over 17 years ago (in 1417 H), said Captain Mahmoud Hussain Al-Harbi, director of Duba Port.
The SPA has signed 28 contracts with Saudi firms and other mixed Saudi foreign companies, to work in the ports on the profit-sharing basis, Al-Harbi said while speaking at an international exhibition on ports in Jeddah. He added that these companies have contributed to the development of mechanisms of action, improvement of the methods of management, training the Saudis and localization of global expertise in the field of port operation. They also helped in the construction of ports handling and stations and provision of modern ports handing equipment with full funding from the private sector.
The privatization has helped in achieving significant reduction in the operational costs of ports, and provision of job opportunities to Saudis, he said.
The privatization has also helped in implementing specialized and advanced training programs, and achieving a quality shift in the method of management of ports, high productivity rates in accordance with international rates, and keeping the privileged position of Saudi ports and enhancing their competitive position with global ports, he pointed out.
Captain Gaid Al-Itaibi of Saudi Aramco presented a working paper on the management system of the company's ports aimed at raising their performance of operations and connecting them with other systems in the company.
Elaborating on the system, he said it includes four major programs — the first is concerned with accepting vessels in the ports of Saudi Aramco, the second is the data bank that contains information on all carriers in the world and records of visits to the ports of the company, the third is the performance monitoring system for tanker operations, and the fourth is the customer satisfaction measurement system on services provided to them by the company.