Time constraints, financing and growing demand were some of the challenges that need to be overcome to secure the future of the Kingdom's industrial cities, a panel of experts said at the Saudi infrastructure Forum on Monday.The panelists included Khamis Al-Gamdi, product development director, Saudi industrial Property authority, MODON and David Welch, senior vice president, Betchel.Modon is currently focusing on raising the number of industrial cities from 22 to 40, Al-Gamdi pointed out.
He said combined efforts are required to overcome the challenges of being a self-financed organization, scale the size of projects and to fast-track supplies amid growing demand especially in the major cities of Riyadh, Jeddah and Dammam.He also called on the private sector to seize the available opportunities in fields such as city development, infrastructure design, financing and service provision concerning operations and maintenance."We have undertaken previous projects with the private sector which were highly successful, especially in the sectors or design and operations," Al-Gamdi said.
The development director also said Modon is currently focusing on the completion of four major industrial cities in Sudair, Al-Kharj, Dammam and Jeddah — all expected to be completed by 2014.Al-Gamdi said the first phase of the industrial city in Sudair is expected to be completed by the end of next year.The city is being built at an investment of SR800 million, Al-Gamdi said.
“We have already implemented the master plan that includes allowing the railway to pass through the city. We are now working on establishing water connections and roadways of the city," he said.He also said the construction of an industrial city in Al-Kharj is also underway with SR300 million of the total investment of 1.2 billion having been spent on the project.He said some plants had already started operations in the city. In addition, the industrial cities of Dammam 3 and Jeddah 3 are being planned at an investment of SR1 billion each.
"The development of the 20 sq km Jeddah 3 Industrial City began two weeks ago with the extension of the road networks and building of an electric power station," Al Gamdi said, adding that the infrastructure of the Dammam 3 Industrial City would be completed in the next two years with the addition of new roads.
Commenting on the 1,000 sq m Jubail Industrial City, Welch said the project developer, The Royal Commission, is in the process of doubling its size to incorporate a new development deemed as Jubail 2."The Jubail 2 project will also be based on petrochemical production and contains new facilities including an expansion of the port and railway network," Welch said, adding that completion of the first phase of the railroad link to the port is scheduled for completion by 2014.
He said other projects underway include the Ras Al-Khair Industrial City for Minerals and Metals, located north of Jubail.Welch said a rail link had already been set up to transport phosphate. An aluminum plant is under construction and the project is likely to be completed by 2015, he said.He said financing for the project in Jubail are increasing each year.He said Betchel had already secured SR900 million worth of contracts this year and the amount is likely to increase next year."We are proud of our investment with Jubail and see the outlook for future development to be positive," Welch said.