BIG Riyadh is a Dry Port Making Big Waves

"Navis N4 2.3 has delivered long term successes in RDP operations. As a TOS it has time and time again proven to be scalable, easily adaptable on physical and virtual servers, robust, and able to cater to all needs of rail operations easily."

- Shaik Ahmed Nawaz, IT Manager, Baas International Group


  • Riyadh Dry Port, located in Riyadh, the capital city in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, is owned and operated by Baas International Group.
  • Achieved 350,000 TEU in 2015.
  • The only dry port in Saudi Arabia that handles an import container volume of over 300,000 TEUs each year.


RDP is owned and operated by the port contractor Baas International Group, a multi-disciplinary organization, and the facility is owned by Saudi Railways Organization. Located in the capital city of Riyadh in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Riyadh Dry Port is connected to the Sea Port of Eastern Province in Dammam. RDP is a rail facility, so all containers arriving at Dammam Sea Port are transported by rail to Riyadh Dry Port.

RDP is the only dry port in Saudi Arabia that handles an import container volume of more than 300,000 TEUs each year. Since being taken over by BIG, it is the only logistics hub in the Kingdom to achieve an average growth of 9.75% every year in terms of import volumes. It’s the only dry port in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and in the Middle East to implement and run on Navis N4 2.3.

RDP wanted to be able to ensure 24/7 availability of their N4 2.3.10 system, so they migrated their physical N4 systems to a virtual environment and set up secondary data centers. The transition was smooth, and N4 adapted to the VMWare environment easily. RDP had two data centers, and data was able to be synchronized and replicated at both sites.

On October 5th, 2016, RDP experienced the issue they were preparing for. The facility experienced a major electricity breakdown, and all operations, systems, and technical departments came to a complete standstill. Customers and stakeholders were severely affected by this unexpected issue. In a port environment where operations never stop running, every single minute of a breakdown in a system can have catastrophic side effects. However, N4 was the only system still up and running with no loss of data on both of the sites. The data centers were supported by generators and a robust UPS system, aiding the primary and secondary data centers to run smoothly. Because N4 continued to run, port operations were unaffected by this unexpected electricity impact. The BIG IT team emerged unscathed from this 7-hour electricity shutdown because RDP had designed, configured and set up robust and reliable IT infrastructure inside the port. The N4 systems remained stable and consistent. It was the only software running in the port that was able to support other systems.


Having seen firsthand the effects of an unforeseen event, Riyadh Dry Port values reliability and efficiency above everything. Since going live with N4 in March 2013, RDP has continued to evolve with and through N4 to maintain efficient, scalable, and flexible operations. Designing and implementing a data center for securing business data of N4 and SAP systems was the first step in their transition to hosting N4 in a virtual environment. The transition was completed in approximately six to eight hours of downtime on a Friday, after which the physical servers for Navis and SAP were efficiently migrated to the VMWare virtual environment. RDP carried out appropriate unit testing and integration testing for both applications over a period of three weeks, and all routine maintenance was pre-scheduled upon confirmed downtime. After the transition and the proven reliability of N4 in the event of a system breakdown, RDP has seen consistent growth. BIG has registered a 10% increase in container volumes each year after implementing Navis N4. More specifically:

  • In 2013, BIG handling 270,000 TEU total.
  • In 2014, BIG registered a 13% growth, handling 305,000 TEU.
  • And, in 2015, BIG exceeded all expectations, setting a new record in handling 350,000 TEU annually.

RDP was able to handle 1085 full import containers in one day – that’s a 75% increase from their operations in 2012, prior to N4. As over November 2016, BIG has handled a total of 310,000 TEU, holding forte and exceeding customer expectations. Navis N4 2.3 is able to run 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year with no downtime as a result of the backup site. Constant operations means more business and happy customers.

N4 easily integrates with other applications, so running N4 and SAP together has helped leverage operational efficiency to another level. The SAP Billing module retrieves its data from N4, and the front-end N4 application is scalable and easy to understand. N4 is the backbone of port operations at RDP and has helped streamline the operational activities and improve gate and yard operations by more than 75%.