Saudi, UAE firms win contract for The Red Sea Project's 100ha nursery

Saudi, UAE firms win contract for The Red Sea Project's 100ha nursery
The Red Sea Project will feature a 100ha nursery.
Published: 9 April 2019 - 5:45 a.m.
By: Neha Bhatia

Saudi Arabia’s The Red Sea Development Co (TRSDC), which is overseeing the HRH Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman-led Public Investment Fund’s (PIF) The Red Sea Project, has awarded a design and build contract for a 100ha landscape nursery to Saudi Arabia’s Nesma Trading Co and the UAE’s Professional Landscape Co.

The Saudi-Emirati joint venture was awarded the contract “after competitive tendering”, and the award marks “another important milestone” for the gigaproject, according to TRSDC’s chief executive officer, John Pagano.

TRSDC is wholly owned by PIF, Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund.

The landscape nursery will give us two to three growing seasons per year, which is adequate time to propagate, mature, and acclimatise trees, shrubs, and plants, in time for contractors to install the landscaping ahead of our 2022 opening.

Ian Williamson, TRSDC

Comprising groundcovers, plants, shrubs, trees, and palms, the nursery will help to meet the demand for more than 15 million plants that will be needed for The Red Sea Project’s landscaping by the time it is fully complete.

Native species of plants will make up much of the nursery’s output, and TRSDC said “additional desert-dwelling species may be included”. The team will also ensure that imported species of plants can “co-exist comfortably with the local flora and fauna”.

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The Red Sea Project comprises a 90-island archipelago [© TRSDC].

To reduce the nursery’s reliance on water from reverse osmosis, precise irrigation control techniques will be rolled out for the facility, and water application will be targeted as needed. Following the completion of enabling infrastructure for The Red Sea Project’s first phase this year, treated wastewater will support irrigation works.

Commenting on the contract award, Pagano said: “We are […] pleased to award this contract to a partnership led by a Saudi company, one that has demonstrated its ability and commitment to delivering projects to the highest international development and sustainability standards.

WATCH: The Red Sea Project's progress in 2019

“The award reflects our promise to support the local economy; such partnerships will have a positive ripple effect that extends beyond a single organisation.”

TRSDC’s chief development officer, Ian Williamson, said the provision of water for a landscape nursery “of this scale has been one of the key challenges” for the project team to manage.


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Native plants will be grown at the nursery [© TRSDC].

He added: “The landscape nursery will give us two to three growing seasons per year, which is adequate time to propagate, mature, and acclimatise trees, shrubs, and plants, in time for contractors to install the landscaping ahead of our 2022 opening.

“We will also propagate turfgrass for our championship golf course, hotels, and residential properties.”

The nursery development contract follows TRSDC’s February 2019 announcement regarding the commencement of works on The Red Sea Project’s base camp.

Enabling work is also under way at the gigaproject, which features an archipelago of 90 natural islands, dormant volcanoes, mountains, and desertscapes, and is among the largest construction projects in Saudi Arabia.

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