The growth of the Saudi Arabian flagged fleet by 28 percent in 2018 can be largely attributed to improvements achieved by the country’s maritime authority, Vice Chairman of the General Authority for Transport for the Maritime Transport Sector, Farid bin Abdullah Al-Qahtani, said.
Speaking to World Maritime News on the sidelines of the Sustainable Marine Development Towards 2030 and Beyond conference, which is being hosted by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia this week, Al-Qahtani noted that the improvements now enable shipowners to register their ships under the Saudi Arabian flag in less than two minutes.
“We are working hard to make everything easier than before, and more professional,” Al-Qahtani explained.
When asked about the TGA’s role in reaching the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 goals, the TGA vice chairman said the authority was going in the right direction, stressing that Saudi Arabia was party to almost 40 International Maritime Organization (IMO) conventions and that the authority’s goal was to ensure compliance with all of them.
He highlighted the fact that the Saudi Arabian fleet almost doubled in gross tonnage between 2017 and 2018, growing from 3.4 million tons to a little under 8 million tons in 2018.
Reflecting on the conference in Jeddah and the impressions so far, Al-Qahtani said that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia had worked hard ever since joining IMO in 1969 and that the conference was an opportunity for the Kingdom and its maritime bodies to show off their progress.
“This conference, organized in cooperation with the International Maritime Organization (IMO), has been hosted for the first time by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and we are really happy with the high-quality speakers and other guests and we want to thank them for their attendance,” he said.
“The conference focused on two goals, empowering women, and protecting the world’s oceans and seas, and our another aim is to highlight that we are also ready to help other countries achieve these goals.”
Al-Qahtani added that Saudi Arabia was working on securing better opportunities for women to join the maritime industry, including covering the academic prerequisites.
“There are women already working in the sector in Saudi Arabia and I am sure that we are a few years away from seeing Saudi women working onboard ships.”