The port and naval shipping sectors in the Gulf and the Middle East, whose waters accomodate a huge part of global trade, are witnessing an important milestone. What makes these waters more significant is that they fall on the Silk Road, the massive Chinese project set to redraw the map of global trade with investments worth $50 billion.
For instance, merchandise and goods worth around $2.5 trillion, which constitute around 13 percent of global trade, pass in front of Saudi coasts in the Red Sea.
Saudi Arabia has aims to transform from being a country that just watches ships passing by, to becoming a pivotal party in the industry of logistical services. Hence, there have been several initiatives in the Kingdom to facilitate the procedures and expedite the handling operations in its ports.
Thunyan Al Thunyan, the consultant of the Trade Facilitation Office at the Saudi Customs said one of their most important strategies is facilitating trade, adding there were several initiatives, programs and projects, such as the Al-Faseh (clearance) within 24 hours program, to achieve these goals.
Saudi ports deal with around seven million TEUs and receive more than 11,000 ships a year.
King Abdullah Port is a basic pillar in the Kingdom’s strategy to develop the logistical sector as when it’s completed, it will be able to handle 20 million standard container ships, 1.5 million cars and 1.5 million tons of bulk cargo every year. The port has in fact been ranked as the eighth fastest growing port in the world in 2017.
Other countries in the region also seek to play an important role in the field of naval shipping. The UAE has made a huge leap on this front as the country’s ports are among the best ten ports in the world. This is in addition to the UAE’s capabilities on the level of infrastructure.
Hessa Al Malek, Executive Director for Maritime Sector, Federal Transport Authority - Land & Marine in the UAE had said that the most recent international reports noted that the UAE is the best Arab country and the 14th in the world regarding the development of ports.
“One Belt, One Road” is the slogan, which China chose for the Silk Road Initiative. It’s clear that Gulf countries are determined to be a keystone in the most important route of global trade.
Saudi Arabia aims to enhance logistical services industry