Innovation showcase | Fast track quay wall design and construction for Ras Al-Khair Shipyard in Saudi Arabia – New Civil Engineer

Dry Wall Contractor

The King Salman International Complex for Maritime Industries & Services shipyard at Ras Al-Khair in Saudi Arabia is now under construction and includes 5.63km of quay walls.

This mega shipyard project is part of Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 to diversify the economy from the energy sector. It has been developed by Saudi Aramco with technical design support from Royal HaskoningDHV (RHDHV) since its inception in 2014.

The shipyard will build and repair the full range of ship sizes from very large crude carrier (VLCC) oil tankers 330m long by 60m wide, to 60m long by 15m offshore service vessels (OSVs) as well as jack-up rigs 90m long by 89m wide. It will also have facilities for building the full range of offshore fabrications.

Accordingly, in addition to the quay walls the shipyard’s infrastructure includes a pair of shipbuilding dry docks, one 550m by 75m and the other 400m by 75m; a 374m by 90m ship and jack-up repair dry dock; a shiplift capable of lifting ships up to 250m long and with a maximum beam of 44m; plus ship outfitting and repair piers totalling 1.04km in length. Throughout the design, consideration has been given to minimising the carbon footprint of the project.


The project has a fast track programme with the aim of having the whole 1,125ha shipyard constructed and fully operational by 2024. The first production zone is due to start operations before the end of 2022. To achieve this, a two stage procurement strategy was adopted. The already completed first stage is the harbour creation and reclamation work which was done to a detailed design by RHDHV. This includes most of the shipyard’s quay walls.

The second stage was tendered on a front end engineering design prepared by RHDHV and is being constructed using an engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract. This EPC contract covers all landside shipyard facilities plus the dry docks, piers and the shiplift. Great care was taken in the planning of the shipyard layout to ensure that sufficient construction space was provided to enable the economic construction of the dry docks. The interfaces between the first and second stage construction contracts also required very careful planning, in particular the quay walls at the dry dock entrances.

The planned operational usage of the quay walls varies greatly. To avoid multiple changes in the type of construction method, which would have inherently extended the construction programme, two fundamental types of wall were designed. Depending on the operational requirements of the shipyard, additional load capacity enhancing features were added as needed, for …….


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