Ports will play a crucial role in Kuwait’s plans to assert itself on the regional and global stages as a lucrative strategic trade hub, in implementation of its New Kuwait 2035 development plan. Smart ports, which form a fundamental part of these plans, will aim to incorporate IT and practical technologies, both working in tandem to increase productivity and cut costs.
Efficiency will be boosted through lessening energy consumption and resulting waste, thus boosting maritime transport, which is responsible for 90 percent of global trade. A clear example of this has been demonstrated at Hamburg Port, the largest in Germany and the second largest in Europe. The application of these port technologies has seen its capacity increase by 56 percent, while consuming the same resources required to run the port. The technologies look set to be introduced at Kuwait’s three main non-oil commercial Shuwaikh, Shuaiba and Doha ports, and the soon-to-be-built Mubarak Al-Kabeer Port in the north.
It will also compliment ambitious projects the country intends to pursue, in its northern Silk City free trade zone and five islands’ development projects. Based on initial estimates, a total seven projects will cost the country around KD700 million (US$2.3 billion) – with profits, worth around KD150 million (US$495 million), set to be reaped on an annual basis.
The plans, overseen by the Kuwait Ports Authority and the Communications and Information Technology Regulatory Authority (CITRA), will see a replacement of the paper-based system with digital means. The first steps towards the goal have already been completed, with a surveillance system, managed by a centralised operations room, installed at the three existing ports, their storage zones and related facilities. Where Mubarak Al-Kabeer Port is concerned, telecommunications company, Huawei, has been contracted with introducing the technology there after CITRA signed a memorandum of understanding with the Chinese firm for the purpose in July.
Huawei will bear the cost of the project for the port, which will be extremely beneficial to serving the interests of Kuwait, its northern Gulf Arab neighbours and Central Asia. The deal will also see smart technologies introduced to a number of cities and economic projects in Kuwait, including the Silk City and the islands.