Dubai: Dubai-based ports operator DP World says it has received approval from the Saudi Arabian ports authority for its plans to transform Jeddah’s docks.

In October 2017, DP World announced plans to develop Saudi Arabia’s Jeddah port, in support of the country’s Saudi Vision 2030.

Talking to Bloomberg on the sidelines of the World Government Summit (WGS) taking place in Dubai this week, DP World chief executive Sultan Ahmad Bin Sulayem confirmed that the plan had been approved, and the company was “in the final stages of talking to the Saudi ministry on a date to start” its expansion.

“Yes [the plans have been approved]. We have been discussing this for many months actually. This is part of the Saudi plan for Jeddah,” Bin Sulayem said in the interview. Today, he added, the location was strategically important as “the main port in Saudi Arabia, and especially, it’s on the Red Sea, which is the most important route between Europe to the Far East”.

DP World has so far declined to specify the amount it plans to invest in the port’s expansion.

“The potential is big, but unfortunately the infrastructure in Jeddah port itself wasn’t developed. So now we’re geared [up for] major investment, deployed for Jeddah to take advantage of the Red Sea market, but also most importantly, the growth expected in Saudi Arabia,” he said.

“Saudi has Vision 2030, which is a huge opportunity for us,” Bin Sulayem added.

In October, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman Bin Abdul Aziz announced plans to build a $500 billion (Dh1.8 trillion) project called NEOM that spans three countries.

Bin Sulayem discussed how DP World’s plans for Jeddah will realise the potential for economic growth.

Around 10 per cent of world trade is expected to pass through NEOM, which is also expected to boost Saudi Arabia’s communications, technology and renewable energy sectors.