Saudi Arabia has announced the launch of 'world's most innovative economic zone' in Riyadh, that will serve billions of customers in Africa, Asia and Europe and help boost Saudi's cargo capacity to more than 4.5 million tonnes per annum.

Spanning 3 million-sq m, the Special Integrated Logistics Zone will use technology to streamline the movement of goods, including best-in-class inventory systems optimized for e-commerce, providing direct linkages between investors, suppliers, customs, and government entities.

It is strengthening Saudi Arabia's competitive position as the largest, fastest growing and leading trading nation in the Middle East, and continuing Vision 2030's mission to connect the Kingdom to the world.

A truly integrated facility, it offers a value proposition that has been developed alongside its first batch of investors, including the global technology leader Apple.

Leaders from the global logistics industry joined Saudi Arabia's General Authority for Civil Aviation (GACA) in celebrating the launch of the Special Integrated Logistics Zone today (October 31) in Riyadh.

"The launch is a testimony to Vision 2030 and the relentless support of His Royal Highness for the sector, positioning the kingdom as a global logistics hub connecting three continents, attracting the largest companies in the world to the Kingdom as our logistics sector is transformed by the National Transport and Logistics Strategy," remarked Saleh bin Nasser AlJasser, the Minister of Transport and Logistics.

"The Special Integrated Logistics Zone is a vital enabler for Saudi Arabia's logistics sector because it offers a unique value proposition to multinationals based on enhanced fiscal and regulatory incentives. It will strengthen Saudi Arabia's position as the largest, fastest growing market and leading strategic trading nation in the Middle East and continue Vision 2030's mission to connect the Kingdom to the world," stated AlJasser.

As part of the wider transformation of the Kingdom's logistics sector, by 2030 Saudi Arabia is significantly increasing its cargo capacity to more than 4.5 million tons per annum and increasing the contribution of the transport and logistics sector to national gross domestic product from the current 6 to 10 percent.

This will help to fuel business growth, attract inward investment, and increase the sector's non-oil revenues to about SR45 billion ($12 billion) a year by 2030, he added.

The Special Integrated Logistics Zone is a key enabler of these objectives and the package of incentives and regulatory mechanisms have been developed in consultation with leading international companies to ensure that its value proposition is unmatched globally.

GACA has designed the Special Integrated Logistics Zone to respond to the needs of the world's leading international corporations, ensuring that the world's leading companies can have an ultra-competitive position for their base in the Kingdom.

It is a fully integrated special economic zone that integrates best practice in regulation, technology and infrastructure from around the world.

"The Saudi Aviation Strategy is investing $100 billion in the kingdom's future, creating an unprecedented growth story. The Special Integrated Logistics Zone is an opportunity to participate from the outset in Saudi Arabia's rapid emergence as the Middle East's pre-eminent logistics hub, and we have put the regulatory measures in place to give maximum flexibility for global businesses when they enter the Kingdom," said the minister.

The zone's unique value proposition includes Value Added Tax advantages on servicing and on manufacturing and assembly, reducing the cost for multinationals and their third-party suppliers, who reassemble products in the zone for onward sale in Saudi Arabia and the wider Mena region.

According to him, the ease of doing business has been enhanced by 100% foreign ownership, streamlined incorporation processes, expedited certification and permit procedures and allowable company structures – helping facilitate businesses seamlessly.

Awad A. AlSulami, Vice President, Logistics & Special Economic Zones at GACA. said the special zone's best-in-class inbound and outbound inventory systems provide direct linkages between investors, suppliers, customs and government agencies accelerating the speed of processing and integrated Vendor Managed Inventory, meaning more flexibility and cost efficiencies for investors.

An investor based in the Special Integrated Logistics Zone can already deliver a product to a customer within four hours – saving significant time and cost when compared to delivering a product from any other location outside of the Kingdom," said Al Sulami.

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