In May 2013, just four and a half months after construction of the first deep water quay wall commenced at the King Abdullah Port, AECOM’s construction supervision team witnessed a major milestone. A vessel carrying the first shipment of parts for the container cranes berthed in the port. Richard Wardropper, AECOM’s chief resident engineer, explains how this was made possible: “Fast tracking the construction of the quay wall essentially means using fewer but larger than normal concrete blocks. Here the concrete blocks used are huge – 720 tonnes each. The challenge then lies in how to move them into place, which we meet by using a 1,200 ton floating crane”.

The port began trial operations in September 2013 when commercial vessels started using the first 500m of berth. Capable of handling an initial 1.7 million containers per year, it will significantly reduce traffic congestion on the roads surrounding the nearby Jeddah Port.

King Abdullah Port is located approximately 120km north of Jeddah on the Red Sea Cost. It is strategically located to serve the East-West transshipment of cargo as well as domestic volumes. The port will eventually spread across 20 square kilometers and have capacity to handle in excess of 20 million containers per year, making it one of the top 20 container ports in the world.

In addition to the seaport, the King Abdullah Economic City (KAEC) megaproject will consist of light and heavy industrial areas, hospitality and leisure, healthcare, education and residential areas. Planned to complete in 2029, KAEC will cover an area of 168 square kilometers, the same size as Washington DC.