Geopolitics and Shipping: The 5 Biggest Ports in Saudi Arabia and the UAE

Aug 24, 2018 | 09:30 GMT

Port Khalifa in the United Arab Emirates became operational in 2012.

An Emirati man walks in the new Khalifa Port in Abu Dhabi on September 1, 2012. Oil-rich Abu Dhabi began commercial operations at its new Khalifa Port which cost so far $7.2 billion to take over from its 40-year-old Mina Zayed Port as a container terminal. AFP PHOTO/KARIM SAHIB



  • Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates are pursuing ambitious port projects as part of their economic diversification plans.
  • The ports all have the potential to generate substantial income. Though they are ostensibly run independently, their success depends in part on government priorities.
  • As the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia move toward new socio-economic structures, each country's political imperatives could collide with the economic realities of large infrastructure projects.

Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have the first and second largest economies in the Persian Gulf, respectively, thanks to their massive oil reserves. But both countries are looking to the future, anticipating the perhaps-far-away but still eventual decline in oil value. They are thus embarking on ambitious economic diversification plans as part of larger social modernization efforts, and given their locations along trade routes, the two countries have come to see that there is money to be made in the business of ports. But though ports and their accompanying shipping jobs are -- and will continue to be -- a safe bet financially, the Saudi and Emirati governments may still be drawn to exert socio-political influence that is at odds with good business practice....

Keep Reading

Register to read three free articles

Proceed to sign up

Register Now

Already have an account?

Sign In