Mubarak Al-Kabeer port, airport''s enlargement to turn Kuwait into global financial hub

By Nawwaf Al-Daqbasi (with photos) KUWAIT, Jan 2 (KUNA) -- Constructing Boubyan seaport, better known as Mubarak Al-Kabeer, along with enlarging Kuwait International Airport are two main important projects aimed at transforming Kuwait into a global financial and trade hub as these marine and air ports represent main gateways of the State itself.

The enlargement project of Kuwait's airport, which already started, focuses on increasing the capacity of the airport from seven million passengers to more than 20 million passengers annually.

The designing works for constructing arrival and departure hall 2 of Kuwait's airport started mid of last March with the aim of reaching a capacity of 13 million passengers annually along with utilities including VIP lounge, reception and departure halls and multi-storey car park that can absorb 4500 as a minimum.

The costs of constructing this hall ranges between KD 350 and 500, and the actual cost will be finally settled following the completion of the designing works, while the contract was already signed with the engineering consultant to hand over the hall in 2014.

The airport's enlargement which will cover an area of 504,257 sq.m. is one of five pioneering projects within the development plan with the terminal's floor space covering 130,000 sq.m. and including 28 gates, with 8 of them allocated for Airbus 380 aircraft, besides a transit passenger hotel and service areas.

The Ministry of Public Works had previously reviewed the designing notions sumbitted by the engineering consultant and made its remarks on them with the aim of developing the grand design of the project.

It is expected for the designs to be finalized by March 2012, and it will include a study and design of the new terminal building of Kuwait International Airport with a capacity of 13 million passengers annually as well as the management of the whole building.

The period of studying and designing will last for 24 months, while the time of overseeing the project's execution is 36 months, and the total cost of the two phases will be KD 27 million and it is expected for the construction works to start in May 2013.

The project is a big strategic one within the government's plan of action, and preparations have been made for its implementation some time ago through a coordination between the Directorate General of Civil Aviation, the Ministry of Public Works and the private sector in order to keep up with the future needs under the population increase.

Directorate General of Civil Aviaton, owner of the project, currently discusses paperwork of the second stage of the designing and overseeing agreement with a global engineering consultant bureau.

The project is composed of several stages including studying, designing, inviting bids, selecting the suitable bidder and execution, though the consultants department of prejects department at the Ministry of Public Works currently oversees the project.

Implementation of the project will start in May 2013 and the time span of execution is expected to go over three years.

The terminal is one of the important projects listed within the government's development plan which has been recently approved by the National Assembly, parliament, in addition to other big development projects which will be carried out at Kuwait's International Airport including the enlargement and lengthening of two runways.

Further, a freighting town will be constructed, and it will be the biggest of its kind to help make Kuwait a global financial hub.

As for Boubyan seaport, or Mubarak Al-Kabeer, it is one the biggest and most important projects of the development plan, and it is carried out by the Ministry of Public Works with the aim of a regional transport system in the region that supports Kuwait's development plans.

The project will contribute to the country's economic and trade openness to the world, and will promote the plan of transportations and outlets, one the main elements in achieving the sublime desire of His Highness the Amir on transforming Kuwait into a global trade and financial hub.

The first stage of the project is divided into three parts with the first, which started in September 2007, covering designing and constructing two-way three-lane 30-k.m. highway along with a railway line covering the same distance in order to cut through Khawr As Sabiyah to link it to Boubyan seaport.

The construction works of the iron bridge have been finalized with 1 k.m. long, and works are under way for laying the foundations of the cars' bridge and the railway.

As for the second part, it includes studies and data gathering including detecting the seabed of the navigational canal, examining the sea soil as well as the seaport's ground, studying the environmental evaluation and the designing works of 16 marinas in addition to the designing works related to deepening the navigational canal at 14.5 metre depth, the port's docks at 16 metre depth, and the construction works of four marinas with 1600 metre long and 16 metre depth.

Regarding the third part of the first stage, it is divided into two parts, the first includes deepening the navigational route in sea and the port's dock to enable ships of big sizes to dock and lay anchor safely as such ships could not lay anchor before at north of the Arab Gulf.

As for the second stage of the project, it covers the designing and construction works of main service buildings which needed for the port's operational processes as the port will work at a capacity of four quays following the end of the first stage.

The second stage of the seaport project will include the construction of 12 additional marinas to make the total port's capacity amount to 16 marinas, while the third stage will add 8 marinas to make the total capacity hit 24 marinas.

The fourth and last stage of the seaport will include the construction of 36 marinas, and consquently the final total capacity will hit 60 marinas, and it will become a main corridor of regional transport linking land to sea through various means of transportation including highways and railway lines in what boosts Kuwait's position as an important center of regional economic activity.

Thus, the Boubyan seaport, or Mubarak Al-Kabeer, will represent a tremendous shift in the sector of transit trade, and will be an important step that revives the old silk road through Kuwait's gateway at the north of the Arab Gulf. KUNA