A rendering of King Salman International Complex

The Ras Al-Khair Special Economic Zone (SEZ) aims to host the largest shipyard in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), leveraging partnerships with major maritime players and backing by the Saudi government to attract investment.

Ras Al-Khair is located on the eastern Arabian Gulf coast of the Kingdom, just north of Jubail Industrial City.

The shipyard is King Salman International Complex for Maritime Industries and Services, which aims to be both the largest shipyard in the Mena region and the most technologically advanced.

Major activities include shipbuilding, repair, offshore rig fabrication and repairing.

The shipyard leverages modern technologies like AI and IoT in its bid to drive innovation, in addition to renewable energy sources.

The SEZ also includes a fully integrated offshore cluster to localise end-to-end offshore supply chain.

Four entities have been created in the SEZ in pursuit of meeting the region’s increasing demand for maritime applications. The entities include:

• International Maritime Industries (IMI), a joint venture of Aramco, Lamprell, Bahri, and Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI).

• Saudi Engines Manufacturing Company (Makeen), a joint venture of Aramco, Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI), and Saudi Arabian Industrial Investments Company Dussur.

• McDermott Arabia Company,

• Aramco-Baosteel steel plate plant, a joint venture of Aramco and Baoshan Iron and Steel Company.

This is in line with Ras al-Khair’s proactive approach to seeking diverse partners and investors globally, with multiple incentives promised for both the short and medium term.

These include a 5 per cent corporate income tax for up to 20 years. There will also be 0 per cent customs duties deferral for goods inside the zone and 0 per cent withholding tax for profit repatriation abroad – both indefinite. There will also be 0 per cent VAT for intra-SEZ goods exchanged within the zone and between zones.

IMI has already signed offtake agreements totaling $10 billion over 10 years with partners Aramco and Bahri, for the delivery of 20 rigs and 52 vessels acquiring, at least, 75 per cent of Bahri commercial vessel needs over the period from the shipyard.

According to Eng Ahmed Hassan, CEO of Ras Al-Khair City for Mining Industries: "This is an exciting time for Saudi Arabia. Projects like Ras al-Khair are spearheading the Kingdom’s drive to become a global investment destination by developing a modern, sustainable maritime and logistics powerhouse."

The development of the SEZ and King Salman International Complex for Maritime Industries and Services is designed to contribute to Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 by further developing and diversifying the Kingdom’s economy.

The SEZ aims to reach a maritime industry target value of $14 billion annually and create over 80,000 direct and indirect jobs while attracting investment from around the world.