Middle East 'growing in logistics strength'

7 July 2020

Significant investment and futuristic projects are helping MENA countries to seamlessly connect with one another and become world leaders in logistics, a webinar was told.

Savills’ Middle East webinar, dedicated to transportation and innovation, heard from regional logistics experts that countries in the region continued to progress up the rankings in the Logistics Performance Index, an interactive benchmarking tool created by the World Bank.

The webinar heard that the UAE was leading the way regionally, being now ranked 11th globally, followed by Oman, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Egypt.

“This only proves that the region is growing in popularity and superiority when it comes to trade and logistics. Trade statistics reveal exports from the Middle East grew by 21% in 2018, totalling $1.13 trillion,” said Ihsan Kharouf, head of Savills Oman.

“The size and capacity of deep-sea container ships on the Asia-Middle East route has also doubled from 9,000 containers in 2010 to 18,000 containers in 2020, indicating a significant improvement in capacity.”

The Saudi Railway Company’s (SAR) plan to build rail links into neighbouring countries to support the diversification and integration of regional economies was highlighted as a futuristic infrastructure project.

Projects planned by Etihad Rail in the UAE, the Oman National Railway Network and the Bahrain Integrated Public Transport Network Program were also mentioned.

Several GCC countries have also mooted futuristic hyperloop projects that the webinar heard could potentially connect all GCC cities within an hour, while operating with zero direct emissions.

Contributors spoke of how advances in battery efficiency, charging infrastructure and the increasing range of products available for different customer segments were boosting electric cars in the region.

Sulaiman Al Riyami, vice president real estate at Oman Aviation Group, said: “Geographic locations play a vital role [in] logistics accessibility.  

“For instance, air cargo is key in the sultanate’s logistics landscape; Muscat Airport is located in the middle of the city which grants access to various local industrial parks as well as access markets within a four-hour flight radius.

“We are also establishing a seamless access between sea and air transport which allows us to place Oman as an attractive location for operators and investors in the international market.”

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