Saudi Arabia’s ports are on the rise
- Investment in port facilities and new liner services contributed to a solid increase in seaport throughput in 2022. The Saudi Ports Authority (Mawani) has reported that container throughput, container volumes, transshipment and passenger throughput all posted positive gains in 2022 compared with a year earlier, and upward trends for all measures are expected in 2023‑24.
- Development of the maritime transport and logistics sector is a crucial pillar of Saudi Arabia’s transport strategy within the country’s development plan, Saudi Vision 2030. The kingdom continues to invest heavily in the sector, with multiple large-scale projects to upgrade existing ports and terminals—and to develop new ports and introduce new trade routes—recently completed, under way or in the planning pipeline.
- In late 2022 Mawani signed an agreement with a Danish shipping company, Maersk, to establish an integrated logistics park at the Jeddah Islamic Port (JIP); a Dubai-based logistics firm, DP World, is aiding the expansion and modernisation of the South Container Terminal at JIP. The port’s container-handling capacity will increase from 2.4m TEUs to 4m TEUs in 2024. Saudi Arabia is targeting a national annual container capacity of more than 40m containers by 2030.
- Improvements to date are reflected in the steady rise in Saudi Arabia’s score in the quarterly Liner Shipping Connectivity Index (LSCI) produced by the UN Conference on Trade and Development. The kingdom has closed the connectivity gap with the UAE, the top performer among Gulf Arab states in the LSCI, since the first quarter of 2019. The LSCI score is a function of five components: the total number of shipping lines serving a country; the largest vessel size calling at the country, in TEUs; the number of services connecting a country to its counterparts; the number of deployed vessels in a country; and total vessel capacity in TEUs.
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