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‘Saudi Arabia will come back stronger than ever. Strategic investing is catering to an imminent wave of growth that is beginning to emerge. Sea lane shipments opening up.

‘Saudi Arabia will come back stronger than ever. Strategic investing is catering to an imminent wave of growth that is beginning to emerge.

With a bird’s eye view of the country’s import and export activity and logistics investments, King Abdullah Ports (KAP) CEO Rayan Qutub is confident that the country is on the brink of a “new wave of growth.”

“Saudi Arabia will come back bigger and stronger than ever,” he told Arabian Business in an interview while in Dubai last week.

“We’re an oil-based economy going through cycles that have always existed. But with Vision 2030, the country will emerge dramatically different,” he said.

The sole privately owned port in the country, KAP is the country’s largest and fastest growing. In 2018, the company saw a 36 percent growth in its container business while its breakbulk operations grew to roughly four times the average handling rate of ports in the region.

“What works to our benefit is our accessibility to local markets. We’re at the main corridor of the Red Sea through which 26 percent of the world’s container business flows. Our immediate domestic catchment area of 12 million people is one of the highest GDP per capital catchment areas in the world. And we’re opening up to more markets as well, in a booming East Arica as well as around the Red Sea,” he said.

Economic headwinds such as a slowing of growth in China, oversaturation of ports in the Arabian Gulf, and trade talks between the US and China unable to resolve differences over tariffs could see a “spillover” into both KAP and Saudi Arabia’s fortunes, Qutub acknowledged.

“We’re part of the global economy… and in any challenging economic times, people are looking for better, faster and cheaper more convenient solutions,” he said.

However, Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 plan to diversify economic revenue sources “is a dynamic top-bottom and bottom-top initiative,” that Qutub said is “seeing support from all government entities.”

“These are national level goals, of which the logistics industry is a major pillar to deliver that transformation,” he said. “With strategic investments we’re beginning to see a new wave of growth in the country.”

 

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