RIYADH: The introduction of new cargo services and significant progress in container handling has propelled the Saudi Ports Authority, also known as Mawani, to achieve its greatest improvement on the UN’s shipping index. 

Mawani has garnered 79.01 points in the UN Conference on Trade and Development’s Liner Shipping Connectivity Index for the fourth quarter of 2023, compared to 77.66 points in the previous quarter, as stated in a press release. 

UNCTAD compiles the LSC Index by considering various sub-indicators, including the frequency of scheduled vessel visits per week, standardized ship capacity, and the availability of regular service routes provided by shipping lines for inbound and outbound transportation. 

Mawani highlighted that Saudi Arabia has made significant strides in the logistics sector, establishing 28 new cargo services in collaboration with leading shipping liners in 2023. 

Additionally, the Kingdom has achieved substantial progress in container handling, moving from 24th to 16th in the Lloyd’s List One Hundred Ports rankings. 

Furthermore, Saudi Arabia has ascended 17 places in the World Bank’s Logistics Performance Index, securing the 38th position out of 160 countries. 

Saudi Arabia’s National Transport and Logistics Strategy aims to increase the sector’s contribution to the Kingdom’s gross domestic product from the current 6 percent to 10 percent by 2030.  

This strategic initiative is centered on solidifying the Kingdom’s position as a global logistics hub, enhancing the quality of life in Saudi cities, and achieving a balance in the public budget. 

In a press statement, Mawani highlighted that the growth in the region’s logistics sector can be attributed to the authority’s ongoing efforts in infrastructure upgrades and modernization.  

Additionally, Mawani’s commitment to streamlining import and export procedures has not only bolstered national exports but has also fostered global maritime trade, ultimately reducing the cost of port operations. 

A recent report released by Mawani revealed that Saudi Arabia’s ports experienced a 16.85 percent surge in container handling in November compared to the same period the previous year.  

According to the authority, the Kingdom handled 737,530 standard containers in November, an increase from the 631,160 containers recorded in the same month of 2022.