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Saudi Arabia Transportations


Until recent decades, the camel was the chief means of transportation in Saudi Arabia, but enormous strides have been made since the early 1970s. By 2006, there were 221,372 km of roadways, of which 47,529 km were paved. Modern roads link Jeddah, Mecca, Medina, Aţ Taif and Riyadh. A new highway connects Saudi Arabia with Jordan, and a causeway completed in 1986 offers a direct connection with Bahrain. In 2003, there were 2,889,384 passenger cars and 1,720,910 commercial vehicles registered for use. Most within-country freight is hauled by truck.

The Saudi Government Railroad, which operates between Ad Dammam and Riyadh over a length of 575 km, was built by the Arabian American Oil Co. (ARAMCO) during the 1950s. As of 2008, railway lines totalled 1,378 km of standard-gauge track.

In 2012, there were an estimated 216 airports, of which 80 had paved runways; there were also 10 heliports. Major airports include Dhahran International at Dhahran, King Abdul Aziz at Jeddah, and King Khaled International at Riyadh. The government-owned Saudi Arabian Airlines (Saudia) operates regular domestic and foreign flights to major cities. Because of the large distances that separate the main cities, air travel is preferred within the kingdom. In 2003, about 13.882 million passengers were carried on scheduled domestic and international flights.

Jeddah, on the Red Sea, is the chief port of entry for Muslim pilgrims going to Mecca. Saudi Arabia has the largest seaport network in the Near East, with eight major ports with 183 piers and three smaller ports. Ports include Ad Dammam, Yanbu' al-Bahr, Jizan, Duba, Jeddah, Jizan, Rabigh, Ras al Khafji, Mishab, Ras Tanura, Madinat Yanbu' al Sinaiyah, and Jubail (Al-Jubayl). In 2010, there were 72 ships of 1,000 GRT or more. The traditional dhow is still used for coastal trade.


Airports : 216 (2012)
Airports - with paved runways : total: 80

over 3,047 m: 33

2,438 to 3,047 m: 15

1,524 to 2,437 m: 26

914 to 1,523 m: 2

under 914 m: 4 (2012)
Airports - with unpaved runways : total: 136

2,438 to 3,047 m: 8

1,524 to 2,437 m: 71

914 to 1,523 m: 41

under 914 m: 16 (2012)
Heliports : 10 (2012)
Pipelines : condensate 212 km; gas 2,846 km; liquid petroleum gas 1,183 km; oil 4,232 km; refined products 1,151 km (2010)
Railways : total: 1,378 km

standard gauge: 1,378 km 1.435-m gauge (with branch lines and sidings) (2008)
Roadways : total: 221,372 km

paved: 47,529 km (includes 3,891 km of expressways)

unpaved: 173,843 km (2006)
Merchant marine : total: 72

by type: cargo 1, chemical tanker 25, container 4, liquefied gas 2, passenger/cargo 10, petroleum tanker 20, refrigerated cargo 3, roll on/roll off 7

foreign-owned: 15 (Egypt 1, Greece 4, Kuwait 4, UAE 6)

registered in other countries: 55 (Bahamas 16, Dominica 2, Liberia 20, Malta 2, Norway 3, Panama 11, Tanzania 1) (2010)
Ports and terminals : Ad Dammam, Al Jubayl, Jeddah, Yanbu al Bahr






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