Saudi Arabia has entered into a tripartite agreement that will facilitate the integration of autonomous ships into the country’s maritime system.

The agreement, signed by the Transport General Authority, ABS and Zamil Marine Company, is to review the development of regulations, technical standards and practices for the construction, operation and maintenance of autonomous vessels.

“The agreement aims to enhance the efficiency of the maritime sector, encourage innovation and enhance security and safety standards by setting regulations, technical standards and operational practices for autonomous vessels,” according to Saudi Press Agency.

“Through mutual support and cooperation, the agreement is slated to facilitate the safe and effective integration of autonomous ships into the maritime system.”

The deal was signed during the Sustainable Maritime Industry Conference (SMIC) in Jeddah.

Saudi seeks to establish initiatives that will raise the maritime sector’s contribution to the kingdom’s economy by four times its current level, Al-Jasser noted.

Saudi is expected to rank eighth among the world’s top container-handling countries by 2030, the official said during his speech at the conference.

(Writing by Cleofe Maceda; editing by Seban Scaria)