His Excellency (H.E.) Dr Nabel Bin Mohammed Al Amudi, Minister of Transport of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA), inaugurated the second Saudi Maritime Congress with a Keynote Ministerial Opening Address to highlight the importance of the show, the growing KSA economy and the goals of Vision 2030 to drive sustainable growth and development in the nation.
The opening ceremony was attended by high level government officials and key players in the maritime and logistics industry, with H.R.H. Princess Sarah Al Saud, Director of Maritime Business Development, International Forum for Maritime Transport, Arab Academy for Science, Technology and Maritime Transport and Eng. Abdullah Aldubaikhi, Chief Executive Officer of Bahri, also addressing the delegates and attendees about the industry in the second session of the day.
In his speech at the opening ceremony, H.E. Dr Nabel Bin Mohammed Al Amudi, Saudi Minister of Transport, said,
“The 2nd Saudi Maritime Congress is strategically important and remains an interactive platform for exchanging information, transferring experiences and exploring investment opportunities available to develop the maritime sector with the participation of experts, pioneers and decision-makers. The Kingdom has provided a pioneering model in the development of the maritime sector, accompanied with unlimited support and unprecedented attention of our wise leadership, which translates to a quality-focused shift in facilities, operational and logistical mechanisms, to position Saudi ports among the ranks of the most important regional ports and an ideal destination for major global navigation lines.
Al Amudi added: “We confidently look forward to the conference, which represents an important step towards keeping pace with developments in the global maritime and logistics sector. We seek to continue fruitful cooperation with the public and private sectors to promote this vital sector, successfully connect bridges with three continents and make the Kingdom a global logistics center.”
Other speakers during the opening Keynote Session include H.E. Dr Rumaih bin Mohammed Al Rumaih, President, Public Transport Authority, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, H.E. Eng. Saad Bin Abdulaziz Alkhalb, President, Saudi Ports Authority (MAWANI), and Suleiman Bin Abdullah Al-Tuwaijri, Vice Governor, General Customs Authority, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia who are all invested in speaking to delegates.
Chris Hayman, Chairman of Seatrade, said: “It was an honour and a pleasure to welcome all attendees on behalf of Seatrade to the 2nd Saudi Maritime Congress 2019. During the first event, held in Dammam in 2014, the message was clear: The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia was committed to the major development of its maritime and logistics sector.
Four years on that forecast has been overwhelmingly fulfilled in the Saudi Vision 2030 programme. The world is watching with admiration the unfolding of a strategy that will position the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia as a global hub, delivering connectivity between Asia, Europe and Africa.
In 2014, there were 17 countries represented at this event. This year we have 36 countries, the exhibition booth area has doubled in size, and we are expecting more than twice as many attendees.
I would like to express our sincere thanks to His Excellency Dr Al Amudi, the Minister of Transport for being here today and for delivering the keynote address.
I would also like to thank our patron MAWANI, and its president, His Excellency Engineer Saad bin Abdulaziz Alkhalb, and our strategic partner, Bahri, and their CEO, Engineer Abdullah Aldubaikhi, for their great support and participation in this event.”
The opening of the congress was led with a high-level keynote session ‘At the Heart: The Powerhouse, The Hub’, which explored the growing contribution from the private sector to the national economy and foreign direct investment opportunities in the Kingdom. The panelists have also discussed the further integration of the Saudi Arabia into the regional and global economies as a global logistics hub connecting three continents.
Other sessions that took place were ‘Infrastructure, Logistics and Supply Chain Development’, which reviewed KSA’s strategic location in the development of trade, expansion and modernization, port investment strategies for new economic cities, public and private partnership for the ports sector; ‘Harnessing Smart Technology and Automation’, discussed the adoption of digital technology for the maritime and supply chain sectors and the need for a cyber secure environment for the logistics sector; and ‘Regulation and Sustainability,’ which examined the importance of green issues, including the 2020 sulphur deadline, in the 2030 plan.
The topics to be discussed on the second day of seminars as part of the conference include ‘Ship Building, Fleet Expansion and Diversification’ session, which will highlight the Kingdom’s move into large scale rig and ship construction and repair and the diversification of the fleet into the dry cargo market; ‘Creating Industry Expertise and a Highly qualified Saudi Workforce’ session, which will discuss the new initiatives to support maritime education in the Kingdom and the latest initiatives undertaken by the government and the industry to help to improve its workforce. The Congress will close with the ‘Offshore Marine: The Road to Recovery’ session, to review consolidation in the offshore drilling sector, the outlook for rig operators in the Middle East and what firmer oil prices will mean for the offshore marine sector.