Saudi Arabia: Giant Container Ship Makes Maiden Call at Red Sea Gateway Terminal

 

Newly opened Red Sea Gateway Terminal (RSGT), Jeddah Islamic Port’s flagship terminal, received the world’s largest containership vessel CSCL Star on its first Red Sea call on Tuesday (21st June 2011). With a declared capacity of 14,100 TEU, the CSCL STAR is one of the world’s largest container ships. Built by Samsung Heavy Industries, and delivered in January 2011, it has a length of 366 metres, and a width of 51.2 metres, or 20 rows of containers across the deck.

The vessel boasts a gross tonnage of 150,853, and a draught of 14.5 metres, making CSCL Star the largest container vessel ever to call in the Jeddah Port.

The arrival of CSCL Star, over and above the increasing number of Ultra Large Container Ships of 10,000+TEUs visiting RSGT, is a clear sign of the attraction this 2 million TEU, Green-field container facility has brought to Saudi’s busiest port. RSGT, which started commercial operations at the end of 2009 and steadily built up to full operations during 2010, has dedicated deep water navigation channel with a draft up to -16.5m, and is well placed to handle the next generation of Triple E- Class mega vessels (18,000+ TEU) soon to be deployed. Prior to RSGT these giant container ships were restricted from berthing due to the draft and breadth restrictions.

“The ability of our terminal to handle the larger, latest generation container vessels deployed on the Asia-Europe trades, has helped strengthen Jeddah’s position not just as a gateway for Saudi cargo, but also as a transhipment centre serving other Red Sea and East Africa markets.” Said Aamer Alireza RSGT’s CEO.

The port of Jeddah is the primary shipping hub within the Red Sea region and of key significance for the Kingdom’s growing economy and increased trade demands. In 2010 mainly due to RSGT’s increased capacity, the port handled 3.9m TEUs of container traffic, an increase of almost 24% compared with the 3.0m TEUs handled in 2009.

Transshipment carried out in Jeddah jumped by more than 40% in 2010. As a result Jeddah overtook Salalah to become the Middle East’s second busiest container port after Dubai.

A further increase is likely this year, with Jeddah handling over 867,000 TEU in the first three months of 2011, 7% more than in the equivalent months of 2010. It’s worth noting that container traffic at the terminal has reached a total handling volume of almost 1.0 million TEU this month.

“As trade demands increase, with it is a need for more efficient ports. And as global shipping turns to the economies of scale to drive costs down, terminal and port operators will in turn need to invest in increased capacity and new infrastructure, as well as improved and more efficient operational solutions,” continued the CEO. “To keep up with these trends, RSGT has implementation of latest infrastructure, equipment and state-of-the-art technology, offering enhanced access, berthing and handling as well as best in class logistics and business facilities required”.

Saudi Arabia is currently undergoing multi-billion dollar infrastructure projects including $400bn to be spent in the five years to 2013, and over $130bn to be spent on social and infrastructure projects.

CSCL Star is the first of eight of the world’s largest new container ships whose capacities of 14,100 20-foot equivalent units to be deployed by the carrier. 5 units are being delivered by Samsung Shipyard in Koje, South Korea in 2011. Recent media reports do not exclude that vessels of 18,000+ TEU capacity could be of interest to China Shipping in future by Mr. Hongzhou Zhao, Vice President China Shipping.

Source: RSGT, June 29, 2011

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