Saudi Arabia, UAE to expand cross-border logistics cooperation
The Saudi Logistics Hub, a government initiative mandated to support the growth of the country’s logistics sector, held its first global roadshow in the UAE this week in collaboration with the National Association of Freight and Logistics (NAFL).
Numerous business leaders from the logistics sector attended the event at the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC), and learned about investment opportunities resulting from Saudi Arabia’s latest initiatives.
In 2018, the UAE was Saudi Arabia’s sixth-largest export market and its third-largest import market.
Non-oil exchange between the two countries reached US$29.2 billion in 2018, a surge of 35 percent over 2017, reflecting the strength of the strategic partnership and the unity of visions between the two countries.
While the UAE has consolidated its status as a logistical hub for the Middle East, Saudi Arabia is one of the largest consumers and producers in the GCC region, accounting for close to half of its economy.
Aimed at strengthening Saudi Arabia’s ties with key global logistics markets, the roadshow educated investors and other sector leaders about the Saudi Logistics Hub and its efforts to transform the country’s logistics sector, as well as the ongoing ease-of-doing-business reforms and investment initiatives.
In line with Saudi Vision 2030, the Saudi Logistics Hub seeks to seize opportunities, set targets and outline strategies that generate improvements across infrastructure, processes and procedures while modernizing the governance of the logistics industry in light of greater private sector participation.
"The transport and logistics sector in Saudi Arabia is experiencing unprecedented growth, radically transforming its regulatory structure to create a favourable trade environment and drive economic development,” said Saleh bin Nasser Al-Jasser, Minister of Transport and Chairman of the Saudi Logistics Hub.
“The Saudi Logistics Hub has fronted the country’s transformation into a leading logistics hub with multiple pro-investment reforms that encourage trade and transhipment movements,” he added.
“As a GCC member country, the UAE is one of Saudi Arabia’s strongest trade partners, with a total trade growth of 39.3 percent from 2014 to 2018,” said Al-Jasser. “We look forward to leveraging the opportunities that our synergy presents to position this region among the top global destinations for trade and logistics.”
Saudi Arabia currently commands a 55 percent share of the logistics industry in the GCC region. Over the last decade, the country has invested more than US$100 billion in its transport and logistics infrastructure, resulting in a comprehensive nationwide network.
In 2019, Saudi Arabia achieved a 47 percent increase in the number of new foreign transport and logistics companies, according to the Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority. In addition, total FDI inflows to the country has doubled to more than US$4.2 billion in 2018, with a further 10 percent yearly increase recorded in H1 2019.
Today, Saudi Arabia has one of the fastest-growing logistics sectors globally and is among the fastest economic reformers in the world.
According to the World Bank Group’s Doing Business 2020 report, the country has demonstrated significant improvements, jumping up 72 positions to the 86th place, in the trading across borders ranking, and jumping up 30 positions to the 62nd place, in the ease of doing business ranking.
Saudi Arabia’s impressive reforms are part of the government’s efforts to enhance the business climate and encourage foreign investors to set up operations in the country.
The global roadshows provide a platform to promote the latest opportunities for collaboration and investment while building the credentials of the Saudi Logistics Hub as a distinctive logistical gateway to Asia, Africa and Europe.
The Saudi Logistics Hub’s global roadshow agenda includes Jordan, Egypt, China, Singapore, Japan, India and Germany to promote investment opportunities in Saudi Arabia’s logistics industry.