Even as we had seen all the plans regarding the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and their ultra-modern city of Neom, it was only last week when the geological studies were reported to have started for all the construction sites (at https://aawsat.com/english/home/article/1390921/neom-begins-environmental-geological-surveys-construction-sites). Yet the placement of Neom goes a lot further than most realise. It will also be the gateway to the planned King Salman bin Abdulaziz Bridge, which will take 3 years, span a total distance of 10 miles and it will connect Saudi Arabia directly to the Sinai, to be more precise the bridge will connect to the Sinai a little north of Sharm-El-Sheik, opening up all kind of economic benefits for Egypt. Tourism and connectivity via Sharm-El-Sheik international airport will be boosted to well over 200%, it would also allow Saudi Arabia to delay its airport and use the bridge more effectively. It opens up a lot more when we consider that the setting now opens up directly to Kiev, Istanbul, Bratislava, Budapest, Brussels Talinn, Riga, Vilnius, Warsaw, Kuwait, Bagdad, Cairo, Algiers, Sofia, Minsk, and not to forget all the places that Air Cairo lines to, which is a much larger list. When you consider that the construction is about to start on a city well over 500 billion, how much unschooled labour will there be a need for? Did anyone that math in the equation? That is before projects are delayed and hit snags. Yes, Sharm-El-Sheik will prosper and gain a massive amount of value, because in a tourist place like that these people can get the entertainment they are unlikely to see in Saudi Arabia.
There is an addition part in all this. The bridge will go via Tiran Island, I feel certain that a ramp to that place will be booming tourism as well. No matter how that fares, the first steps are now underway and when building starts, we will quickly see the overexcited steps from all kinds of companies trying to get in, because that 500 billion has to go somewhere, does it not? That is before some realise that having concrete facilities near Sharm-El-Sheik might be equally worthy of consideration, because when Neom is there, the shortages in Sharm-El-Sheik will become abundantly clear soon thereafter. When you see the issues in Sharm-El-Sheik, going back to 2015 and before, we get confronted with stories like ‘British passengers reveal Sharm airport staff are STILL taking cash to help them skip busy security queues despite bomb threat‘ (Daily Mail, November 5th 2015), as well as a few other sources, so as the economic footprint increases, the Egyptian government has to either increase their diligence, hire outside expertise or risk losing a lot of money in that entire process. Mainly because adding a few hotels to Neom will be much easier to consider than most realise and Saudi Arabia will be interested in setting a much larger tourism stage. Having a high tech city is one thing, having a truckload of consumers wanting to take some off it back home to show off is another matter on that very same coin.
In this we must also realise the size of Neom, the Neom site is large, large then anything ever seen before, it will stretch the western coastline to the proximity of Jordan, around 50 Km south of it, keeping it 75Km away from Eilat, giving Israel optional opportunities as well, I remember a Dutch guy who opened an ice factory in Eilat 40 years ago, the cubes for drinks, not the gelato. So there are options all over the place, all infrastructure needs that will not initially be available. Opportunities that some have no yet realised, all open for the investors who see the need for thousands of builders needing a watering hole, needing food and needing entertainment. This will enable places like the small city of Haql to experience a Gold Rush growth momentum.
From Haql to Hamid (where the bridge is likely to start) the distance is a mere 125Km, not the greatest road as it adds 10% to the trip, but the 392 will directly link to Saudi highway 5 getting you to Haql and that setting is merely a starter for plenty of other options. You see, when we consider that part, the bridge itself, when the final point gets a 4G tower, it would effectively cover Sharm-El-Sheik as well, I cannot say what the 5G coverage is as I do not have any reliable data on the range of such a tower. The same could be achieved from Tiran Island, covering the tourist spot and the southern part of Neom (based on 4G numbers).
No matter how it is all pushed, it has started, well, it started some time ago, but with the geological surveys a new chapter is starting, I reckon that when the first studies have been completed and accepted, the setting of concrete will not be far off. It is in this stage where we saw just a month ago (at https://neomsaudicity.net/), “Italian construction company Salini has announced plans to join NEOM project and expand into the Middle East, which includes project contracts in the Gulf, especially Oman, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates“, and Salini is doing just fine. When we are given: “The company has also prequalified for the first phase of the $ 1 billion Avenues project, which is to be made up of two hotels, a shopping center, and an administrative building. It is part of 2,410 active projects in the Saudi Arabia since April, worth $ 190 billion“, we see that growth will be on the front bench of the board of directors of Salini Impregilo for years to come, which I expect will also come with additional growth projects in Sharm-El-Sheik. I reckon that this headway is the best news that Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte was seen in close to a decade, yet they are one of many, and all of them will be needing people, so as the billion dollar contracts are handed out, and when we consider the Business Insider headline: ‘a $500 billion mega-city that’s 33 times the size of New York City‘, how long will it take until these companies realise that there are deadlines and that they are understaffed? That’s not merely construction and engineering. How about all these Arkey systems, Autodesk and Autocad placements? What do you think will happen when the IT division shuts down for whatever reason and local IT support will be required? That is merely beyond the commonplace Office software, that part you can evade with cloud services and in a pinch rely on your Google account. CAD software and design software is another puppy and when the heat strikes the power falters and systems need ghosting and restoring, it will be all about local manpower and things will always go wrong at the wrong moment. So, when you score your billion dollar contract and the infrastructure takes a dive, how prepared are you? How strong are the infrastructure settings for replacing it all? So even as the Neom News site gave us in April “NEOM Announces first 6 Jobs“, we need to realise that they will need another 15,000 trained professionals in that location soon enough. I wonder where these people will go shopping for the shortage. There is every chance that some of them will rely on poaching soon thereafter, which optionally raise staff costing by 200%-500% (depending on expertise needed), at that point consider the other parts that every building, every mall and every infrastructure needs. Neom city will soon become one of the largest employer hotspots for the next decade.