Experts attending the Saudi Maritime Congress in Riyadh

Experts attending the Saudi Maritime Congress in Riyadh

Saudi Arabia seeks to become logistics hub

01 April 2019

Saudi Arabia's maritime sector is gearing up to make the kingdom a regional logistics hub and drive forward economic diversification and job opportunities, highlighted leading experts and officials at the recently concluded Saudi Maritime Congress, held in Riyadh.

Engineer Saad Bin Abdulaziz Alkhalb, president, Saudi Ports Authority (Mawani), said: “This event takes place at a time of significant change within the kingdom’s logistic and maritime infrastructure.

“The congress highlights major projects and strategic opportunities that will solidify the kingdom’s position as a global maritime and logistics hub, and will undoubtedly further our aim of attracting strategic investments and viable ventures into Saudi Arabia by highlighting our objectives over the short, medium and long terms,” he added.

Saudi Arabia is the key player in the Red Sea, which has recently seen a scramble to develop maritime assets as the importance of its strategic location on the section of the world’s shipping trunk route between Colombo and Suez increases in significance to global shipping lines.

Princess Sarah Al Saud, director of Maritime Business Development, Arab Academy for Science, Technology and Maritime Transport, said: “Saudi Arabia’s maritime sector is set to receive a much-needed boost, with the generous allocation of $8.8 billion to the energy, mining and logistics sectors in (the government’s) recently announced budget for 2019.”

“In fact, the country is on an aggressive diversification path, with substantial government spending expected to catalyse Vision 2030 goals and drive sustainable growth and development,” she said.

Port development is moving ahead, with projects at Dammam and King Abdullah Economic City launched in the last five years to boost the kingdom’s import, export and transhipment potential.

One of the largest projects recently undertaken in the sector is the King Salman International Complex for Maritime Industries and Services, a joint venture of Saudi Aramco, Bahri (National Shipping Company of Saudi Arabia), Hyundai Heavy Industries, and Lamprell.

A report published in 2018 by leading Saudi investment bank, Jadwa Investments, said completion of the complex was expected 2022.

According to Saudi Aramco, the entire project is designed to contribute around SR64 billion ($17 billion) to the kingdom’s GDP, boost import substitution for maritime products and services by around SR45 billion ($11.99 billion), and create more than 80,000 direct and indirect jobs by 2030.

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