GCC to spend $15bn on ports

GCC countries are set to spend nearly $15bn on the expansion of their ports within the next five years to meet growing business, Kuwait Financial Centre (Markaz) has said in a new study. It said many of the 35 major ports in the six-nation are undergoing expansion to handle a bigger capacity following an estimated eight percent growth to nearly 25 million TEUs in 2010.

The report said UAE ports have the highest share of volume in the GCC at 59 percent, adding that Dubai ranked ninth in the world last year.Salalah port in Oman ranked 32nd in 2010 while the Saudi Jeddah port was 30th, Markaz added.

“There is a robust growth in investments on seaports to increase capacity. So far, the highest investments have come from Dubai and Abu Dhabi. The other GCC countries are also all set to improve their ports,” Markaz said.According to the report, a shift in the direction and nature of trade is taking place between the GCC and the world.

“The emergence of India and China has presented the GCC with substantial opportunities as hubs. Therefore, the GCC ports need to ramp-up capacity, not only to cater to their own increasing needs, but also to develop a hub strategy. Most of them are ideally placed as a trade platform between Asia and the Far East on one hand and the West, Central Europe, and Africa on the other,” the report added.

It said the large volume of the GCC’s hydrocarbon exports by sea has ensured the development of ports in all member countries.Markaz cited a recent report by global analysts EC Harris which ranked the GCC as the most attractive region in the world for investment in port developments.