Riyadh - The Kingdom is observing this year’s World Food Day at a time when its ports have registered a food throughput of over 16 million tons during the first three quarters of 2022, thereby ensuring a sustained availability and flow of food commodities to local markets while strengthening the nation’s supply chains.
Similarly, ports across Saudi Arabia have unloaded around 3,060,281 cattle heads between January and September of this year, which represents a 3.43% year-on-year growth in comparison to 2,958,919 cattle heads previously.
The Saudi Ports Authority (Mawani) has actively contributed to boosting the Kingdom’s food security by streamlining import and export procedures, providing state-of-the-art port warehouses, and automating processes to match the global average in truck turnaround times as part of the Smart Ports initiative, which was launched to accelerate port operations and upgrade customer experience using 5G-enabled cutting edge technologies.
While these achievements are a direct result of various world-class initiatives deployed by Mawani to boost the operational efficiency and competitiveness of national trade hubs alongside revamping its regulatory and legislative environment by overhauling processes and bolstering public-private partnerships in line with the objectives of the National Transport and Logistics Strategy (NTLS) to transform the Kingdom into a global logistics hub that links three major continents.
Through a host of 17 different initiatives that centered around supporting the maritime sector and enhancing import and export activity, Mawani was a significant part of national efforts to minimize the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. These steps were pivotal in maintaining the strategic reserves of essential commodities, safeguarding the stability of local markets, and, in turn, achieving record throughput volumes.
The national maritime sector regulator had earlier signed six key deals to build logistics parks with local and global giants like Maersk, LogiPoint, CMA CGM, DP World, Bahri, and Globe Group at a combined value of over SAR2 billion. With the potential to create 6,000 direct and indirect job opportunities, these projects fulfill the goals assigned by Saudi Vision 2030 to improve the Kingdom’s score in the Logistics Performance Index and expand overall port capacity.
Likewise, a deal was struck with the Saudi Agricultural and Livestock Investment Company (SALIC), wholly owned by the Public Investment Fund (PIF), to build the region’s first and largest terminal for importing, processing, and exporting grains over 313,000 sq. m. of leased land at the Yanbu Commercial Port with an annual capacity of 5 million tons.
Mawani had also signed an investment agreement with United Feed Company (UFC) to build 16 silos at Jazan Port and Ras Al-Khair Port with a one-time storage capacity of one million tons besides developing a full-scale grain distribution and packaging complex, further underscoring the role played by the ports and logistics sectors in driving the growth of Saudi food industries.