Port of NEOM

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Interview with

Mr. Sean Kelly
Sea Mobility Managing Director

Sean Kelly

What is NEOM, and can you elaborate for our readers a little about the basic idea behind the NEOM “project”? What is Oxagon?

Located in northwest Saudi Arabia, NEOM is more than a project. It is an entire region that is being developed infrastructurally to be an accelerator of human progress; as a blueprint for sustainable development.

Oxagon is NEOM’s reimagined industrial city. It is a radical new model for future manufacturing centers, based on NEOM’s philosophy of redefining the way humans live and work in the future.  Advanced and clean industries will thrive in Oxagon as it brings together state-of-the-art approaches of Industry 4.0, the Circular Economy, and Talent Development to enable factories of the future for the products of the future – all in a sustainable way.

Port of NEOM Image

Is it true to say that NEOM is indeed a gigantic investment by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA)? For any big ideas logistics play a vital role in this regard.

Yes, you can certainly see this as a massive investment in the future by the Kingdom. NEOM is an integral part of Vision 2030 and more broadly, the Kingdom’s rapidly growing and diversifying economy. The Port of NEOM, as Oxagon’s first operational asset, plays a critical role here. It supports the overall build, operations, and economic ambitions of NEOM – from the import of goods and materials during the development phase and as a new global port serving the region. This is particularly important as development accelerates and businesses across NEOM come on-stream. In addition to the infrastructural development of the region, NEOM is building 14 sectors to support the economic growth of the country.

The Port is the primary seaport of entry to the northwest of Saudi Arabia. With its strategic location on the Red Sea and at the crossroads of global trading routes, it opens up new opportunities and positions NEOM as a key player in the global supply chain.

What can you tell our readers about the Port of NEOM? What kind of quay, crane and warehousing facilities will be available?

The ambition is to build the world’s most technologically advanced, efficient and sustainable port. Since the transfer of the port to NEOM in 2022, we have expanded the service offerings as a multi-purpose port to include general cargo, ropax, containers and bulk cargo. In parallel, we are gearing up to open a next-generation terminal in 2025, with planned state-of-the-art container and general cargo handling facilities, terminals, and warehouses. The Port of NEOM will be able to handle the world’s largest container ships through the construction of new quay walls, an 18.5m-deep marine basin and widening the channel to 550m. The new terminal will have a throughput capacity of 1.5 million TEUs per annum. By mid-2025, general cargo and bulk capacity will be over 20 million freight tons. The Port has significant reserve design capacity for container handling, general cargo and bulk, and can be quickly expanded depending on the mix of future demand.


The investment to date is over SAR 14B [close to 4 billion USD], and we will continue to accommodate capacity expansion in line with demand. As part of this investment, Liebherr is delivering 10 mobile harbor cranes. ZPMC will provide ten ship-to-shore gantry cranes, 30 electric rubber-tired gantry cranes and six automated rail mounted gantry cranes. ZPMC will be working with Siemens Europe to deliver the automation components.  

The port will incorporate automated equipment and AI-powered management systems. When finished, the port will operate at net carbon zero levels with 100% renewable energy.

I understand that the Port of NEOM is relatively new, and infrastructure is being built as we speak. How could someone visit your port? What is the nearest airport and most efficient way to visit the region coming from abroad?

The Port is located in northwest Saudi Arabia; formerly known as Duba Port, the port was transferred to NEOM in 2022 and rebranded as the Port of NEOM in 2023. You can also arrive via NEOM Bay Airport or Tabuk Airport. Both airports have a selection of direct flights from locations such as London, Dubai, Qatar, and Cairo, with more international flights easily accessible connecting via Riyadh, Dammam and Jeddah. You can also arrive at the Port of NEOM via the daily ferry service from Safaga port in Egypt.

It is vital, of course, for any new port development that customers will be using it now and in the future. Does the Port of NEOM already now have regular callers from some of the shipping majors?

Yes, we are welcoming an increasing number of vessels, including calls from two of the world’s largest shipping lines – MSC and CMA-CGM. We have also recently announced a common feeder service by Folk Maritime, a new Saudi-owned carrier. These services offer direct connectivity between NEOM and international trade routes via Jeddah. We continue conversations with other shipping majors and look forward to announcing further partnerships.

We are set up to support dedicated project cargos for some of Oxagon’s and NEOM’s key tenants and partners. For example, the port supports NEOM Green Hydrogen Company – Oxagon’s flagship renewable energy partner – with project cargo critical to the development of its hydrogen production facility. Our capabilities allow us to receive specialist project cargo, including wind turbine blades and similar shipments for the renewable energy industry.


Elaborate for our readers on the location of the Port of NEOM? Will the port also be a hub in the future for not only KSA but also for the region in/around the Red Sea?

The Port of NEOM will significantly impact the regional and global trade landscape. Approximately 13 percent of global trade passes through the nearby Suez Canal, so enhancing connectivity to international markets through maritime links will boost the region’s competitiveness and contribute to economic growth. The port will also position NEOM as a key player in the global supply chain, attract investment to Saudi Arabia, and ensure the Kingdom builds the skills needed for the future. Located in Oxagon, the combined value proposition of localized clean manufacturing with global connectivity is a powerful one.

What is being done to attract shipping lines, freight forwarders and potential customers to use the Port of NEOM?

 As mentioned, we’re investing heavily to build the world’s most technologically advanced, efficient and sustainable port. When completed, the port will operate at net zero-carbon emissions powered by 100% renewable energy. This will include self-generating solutions such as solar power. More broadly, we are leveraging partnerships and networks to raise awareness of the Port of NEOM, and the commercial opportunities that come with what many are calling the world’s largest infrastructure project.

How to get in touch with you?

Visit Port of NEOM website or follow us on LinkedIn.