The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has set up the National Transport and Logistics Strategy, one of the key points of the Saudi Vision 2030 plan, which seeks to boost the human and technical capacities of the country in matters of services, transport and logistics by strengthening the global economic connection thanks to its ports and to take advantage of its privileged situation between three continents to diversify its economy through the establishment of industries expert in logistics services.
The main objective of the strategy implemented by the Arab country is to turn Saudi Arabia into a hub for logistics services and the transport of people and goods. The result, according to the Saudi government's plan, will be a 4% increase in the sector's contribution to national GDP, from 6% to 10%, and will place Saudi Arabia among the top 35 countries in the cross-border trade index. It will also rise to sixth in road quality and ship just over 4.5 million tonnes of goods by air annually. This new strategy will increase destinations to more than 250 countries.
The kingdom led by Salman bin Abdulaziz has thirteen ports located in the Gulf and the Red Sea, which serve as gateways for 13% of world trade, and provide access for up to 70% of Saudi Arabia's total imports and 95% of exports. On this data, Omar al-Hariri, the CEO of the Saudi Ports Authority (Mawani), told SPA that "Mawani has backed its new corporate strategy in a way that supports trade and economic development in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, noting that the attractiveness and status of Saudi ports have made Saudi Arabia the fifth fastest country in the world in handling container ships".
Saudi ports in figures
As a result of the support the port sector has received from the government in recent years, the size of cargo tonnage handled grew by 7.18% during the first three months of 2022, reaching a total of 74 million tonnes. In addition, the number of containers shipped from Saudi ports increased by 5.91 per cent, representing a rise of around 1.5 million standard-sized containers, compared to the same period last year.
Other operational indicators of the ports have also increased their activity: the number of cars transported increased by 12.85% to 219,488 vehicles. And the number of passengers increased by 61.7% to 258,076 passengers embarked from ports located in Saudi Arabia. To achieve these figures, the number of ships has increased by 0.28% to a total of 3,186 vessels.
Thanks to the efforts of the Kingdom's authorities, Saudi Arabia ranked 16th in the 2021 Lloyd's List of 100 Ports in terms of handling volume. Three of the country's major ports made it into the annual ranking: the Islamic Port of Jeddah, ranked 37th, King Abdullah Port, ranked 84th, and King Abdulaziz Port, ranked 93rd. In addition, the Kingdom was declared the fifth fastest container ship handling country in the world, according to the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development's annual index report, due to the size and competitive attractiveness of the ports.