Saudi Arabia

Three of the warehouses for the fertiliser plant.

Three of the warehouses for the fertiliser plant.

Warehouse work

May 2015



UNGER Steel Middle East is building six mega warehouses with conveyor systems at a major fertiliser factory in northern Saudi Arabia, under a subcontract from Intecsa Ingeniería Industrial, a Spanish industrial plant specialist.

Intecsa has been commissioned by Saudi mining company Ma’aden to develop and construct the new fertiliser plant at the Ras Al Khair industrial complex. This complex is part of the Umm Wu’al EPC (engineering, procurement and construction) project currently being implemented to exploit and process the country’s rich phosphate deposits.

The new fertiliser factory will have a production capacity of three million tonnes per year and will be built in the Waad Al Shimal Mineral Industrial City, which is being developed in line with Saudi Arabia’s plans to accelerate the expansion of the mining sector.

Intecsa was appointed in April 2014 for the development, planning and implementation of this major project, which will involve a total investment of approximately €530 million ($561.7 million).

For the completion of the warehouses with a total area of 103,760 sq m and an impressive total length of nearly 1.5 km, Intecsa relied on Austria’s Unger Steel Group, which has more than 60 years of experience in steel construction.

Construction of the warehouses is currently scheduled to start this month (May) and be completed by the end of July 2016, which means the large halls will be finalised and about 20,000 tonnes of steel installed in only 14 months of construction, says Matthias Unger, CEO of Unger Steel Middle East.

“The six large warehouses which have a length varying from 110 to 276 m and a clear span of over 70 m and a height of over 45 m are designed to create the maximum amount of storage space without restrictions. After on-time completion and handover in July 2016, the warehouses will be used for the storage of potash and phosphate,” says Larry Burke, managing director sales and marketing of Unger Steel Middle East.

Sand trap louvres and roof ventilation openings will provide natural air circulation and conditioning. Unger was also entrusted with the construction of supporting steel for the conveyors running under the warehouse roof ridges as well as with the steel fabrication for the conveyor system from the production site to the new warehouses and further to the port itself.

Amongst the challenges for Unger are the high temperature fluctuations in the desert between day and night, especially during the construction period.

“To balance these variations in temperature, the lengths of the halls are fitted with expansion joints. The close proximity to Ras Al Khair Port makes it necessary to coat the steel and the single-layer roof with special sea-air-resistant paint. Many years of experience in the Arab region, European standard production facilities and far-sighted planning allow for quick and smooth implementation and ensure maximum durability of the materials used,” says Burke.

Unger Steel Middle East is part of the Unger Steel Group, a family business founded in 1952. The group is one of the leading and internationally most successful industrial companies in Europe, whose core competences lie in the fields of constructural and architectural steel, as well as project development and the ready-to-use delivery of complete projects as a general contractor. It has two production sites – in Oberwart (Austria) and Sharjah (UAE) – with a total of 70,000 tonnes capacity per year which allow the completion of a large variety of projects.

Unger Steel Middle East has been successfully operating in the UAE since 2007 and supplying European quality services throughout the entire Arab region. From design through planning and fabrication to construction, all activities are performed by highly qualified and experienced in-house employees on site. The company is located in the Hamriyah Free Zone in Sharjah, where it has a of 100,000-sq-m production site.

Approximately 560 highly trained employees develop customised solutions of the highest quality based on European standards within the network of the entire Unger Steel Group. Additional offices in Abu Dhabi in the UAE, Doha in Qatar, and Jeddah, Riyadh and Dammam in Saudi Arabia allow Unger to be even closer to its clients and offer customised services in the Middle East with quick turnaround times.

Commenting on its business in Saudi Arabia, Unger says: “Along with the UAE and Qatar, Saudi Arabia has become one of the central markets in the Arab region. We have been successful in winning over clients with our superior expertise and our highest levels of quality. For successful implementation of projects, we place particular importance on professional management.”

Burke adds: “As a one-stop shop, we excel in completing all works, ranging from consulting, through design and fabrication, to on-time completion. This is what the Unger Steel Group is known for worldwide. This helps to lay the foundation for a harmonious and efficient collaboration for the benefit of our valued clients.”

Unger has already realised a number of prestigious projects in the Arab world, including the Formula One race track in Abu Dhabi, entrance gate of Burj Khalifa in Dubai as well as the airports in Dubai and Doha (Qatar). In Saudi Arabia, among other projects, a major energy research centre was completed in 2013 for the late King Abdullah.

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