Saudi Arabia has recently revealed an ambitious master plan aimed at developing 59 advanced logistics centers throughout the Kingdom. This strategic initiative is a crucial component of the broader National Transport and Logistics Strategy, as Saudi Arabia sets its sights on becoming a prominent global logistics hub.
In an official statement reported by the Saudi Press Agency (SPA), Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman affirmed Saudi Arabia’s dedication to the timely completion of all logistics centers by the end of the current decade.
According to SPA, the efforts to advance logistics infrastructure development in the kingdom will contribute to the ongoing diversification of Saudi Arabia’s economy and attract increased foreign direct investment. While specific financial details of the master plan were not disclosed, this strategic initiative is expected to pave the way for expanded economic opportunities and strengthen the country’s position as an attractive destination for international investors.
Supporting the economy
The Crown Prince, who also serves as the Chairman of Saudi Arabia’s Supreme Committee for Transport and Logistics, stated that the development plan is a component of the broader targets set by the National Transport and Logistics Strategy (NTLS). The objective of this plan is to bolster the logistical sector, providing support to the economy and enhancing the country’s connections in local, regional, and international trade networks, as well as global supply chains.
Additionally, the Crown Prince highlighted that the strategy will facilitate the enhancement of partnerships with the private sector, ultimately leading to increased job opportunities. This, in turn, will contribute to Saudi Arabia’s aspiration to become a prominent global logistics hub, benefitting from its strategic geographical position spanning three significant continents: Asia, Europe, and Africa.
A comprehensive master plan
As per the master plan, the 59 logistics centers will collectively cover a vast area exceeding 100 million square meters. The development efforts entail the establishment of 12 centers in both the Riyadh and Makkah regions, along with 17 centers in the Eastern region. Furthermore, an additional 18 centers will be strategically distributed across various locations throughout the country.
SPA revealed that ongoing work is underway for a total of 21 centers. The report further states that all the logistics centers are slated for completion by the year 2030.
Upon their completion, the envisioned logistics centers will facilitate enhanced export capabilities for Saudi industries, enabling more efficient transportation of their products. These centers will also play a pivotal role in supporting the thriving e-commerce sector, serving as a crucial connection between the logistics centers and distribution hubs located across different regions, cities, and governorates.
Global logistics center
As part of Saudi Arabia’s comprehensive efforts to expand its transport sector, the development of the logistics sector is a significant component. The kingdom aims to invest over 500 billion riyals ($133 billion) by 2030 towards this expansion, underscoring its commitment to bolstering and modernizing the transportation infrastructure.
In an endeavor to strengthen supply chains and further establish itself as a global logistics center, Saudi Ports Authority has successfully introduced 20 new shipping services during the initial half of 2023. This strategic move aims to enhance the country’s maritime capabilities and contribute to the seamless flow of goods and trade on an international scale.
According to SPA, the authority, commonly known as Mawani, implemented these additional shipping services to connect the Kingdom with various global ports. These services were integrated across Jeddah Islamic Port, King Abdulaziz Port in Dammam, and Jubail Commercial Port, with the primary objective of facilitating trade, exports, and establishing seamless connections for international commerce.
Regarding operational performance, the first half of 2023 showcased notable growth in the handling of standard containers at the ports operated by the authority. The volume of standard containers handled experienced a significant increase of 15.12 percent, reaching a total of 4.08 million containers, in comparison to 3.55 million containers during the corresponding period last year.
Furthermore, there was a notable increase in the number of transshipment containers during the same period. The figures rose by 12.19 percent, reaching a total of 1.56 million containers, compared to 1.39 million containers in the corresponding period of the previous year.
The period saw a significant surge in ship traffic, with a notable increase of 10.6 percent. The total number of vessels reached 5,918, compared to 5,347 vessels during the same period in 2022.
During the same period, the ports recorded a substantial volume of foodstuff, totaling 10.8 million tons. This marks a notable increase of 9.82 percent in comparison to the 9.86 million tons recorded in the corresponding period of the previous year.
Additionally, the number of cars handled at the ports experienced a substantial growth of 26 percent, reaching a total of 496,949 vehicles, in comparison to the 394,151 cars recorded during the first half of 2022.
In the first six months of the current year, the Saudi ports welcomed a significant influx of passengers, with a total of 568,933 individuals recorded. This marked a notable increase of 60.8 percent compared to the 353,758 passengers documented in the corresponding period of the previous year.
According to a report from SPA in May 2023, the infrastructure sector in Saudi demonstrated robust progress in 2022. A total of 56 roads, spanning a distance of 1,610 km, were constructed, indicating substantial activity in this field.
The extensive scope of work also encompassed the evaluation of 608 bridges and 37 tunnels to ensure their optimal working conditions and safety.
The Ministry of Transport and Logistic Services, in their announcement, stated that they have successfully constructed 73,000 km of roads to date. This remarkable feat includes the completion of 3,690 bridges and 76 tunnels, underscoring the nation’s commitment to advancing its transportation infrastructure.
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