SAL starts operations of customs security areas at Saudi’s main airports

Saudi Arabian Logistics (SAL), a member of the Saudi Arabian Airlines Corporation, has officially begun running the operations of customs security areas across most of the Kingdom’s airports.

SAL started operations of customs security areas at Saudi’s main airports on September 1.  Image: Saudi Arabian Logistics

This is part of an MoU signed previously by the Saudi Customs and the National Industrial Development and Logistics Program (NDLP), under the patronage of Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman.

Saudi Customs Vice-Governor Suleiman bin Abdullah Al-Tuwaijri and SAL Deputy Chief Business Development and Corporate Relations Officer Abdulrahman Ma’en Al-Mubarak signed the agreement at the Saudi Customs headquarters in Riyadh in the presence of Saudi Customs Governor Ahmed bin Abdulaziz Alhakbani and SAL CEO Omar Hariri.

Saudi Arabian Logistics, which offers specialised ground-handling and logistic services, started operating at the designated areas on September 1, 2020.

These services cover Kingdom’s main airports including King Abdulaziz International Airport, Jeddah, King Fahad International Airport, Dammam, Prince Muhammad bin Abdulziz International Airport, Madinah, Prince Sultan bin Abdulaziz International Airport, Tabuk, Prince Naif bin Abdulaziz International Airport, Qassim, Taif International Airport and Abha International Airport.


Saudi port set for buoyant future as mega container hub

  • Management deal will see dock’s development support Vision 2030 industrial growth plans

JEDDAH: The transformation of a Saudi port into a global mega hub would be a major driver toward supporting the industrial growth plans of Vision 2030, business chiefs have said.

Saudi Global Ports Co. (SGP) on Oct. 1 took over management control of both container terminals at King Abdul Aziz Port Dammam (KAPD), making it the dock’s sole cargo facility operator.
The successful handover of the first terminal from Saudi Ports Authority (Mawani) to SGP was achieved following the signing on April 13 of a 30-year build, operate, and transfer (BOT) agreement between the two bodies.
The Saudi transport minister and Mawani chairman, Saleh bin Nasser Al-Jasser, said the backing of the Kingdom’s leadership for the transport and logistics sector had enabled the implementation of important initiatives and investments to strengthen the country’s seaports.
And he congratulated Mawani and SGP on reaching a key milestone toward achieving the Vision 2030 goal of using Saudi Arabia’s strategic geographic location to its logistical competitive advantage in helping to diversify the economy.
Abdullah Zamil, chairman of SGP, said: “I would like to express my gratitude to the management and working teams from Mawani and SGP for their close partnership. The smooth transition within a short timeline under the (COVID-19) pandemic situation is phenomenal.
“The positive relationship will be the catalyst to accelerate the developments to elevate the seaport and logistics capabilities of Dammam to support the industrial growth initiatives under Saudi Vision 2030.”
Since the signing of the BOT agreement, Mawani and SGP have worked closely on various activities including manpower retention, transfer of assets, engagement of the port community, and collaboration with stakeholders.
In addition to the transfer of equipment from Mawani, SGP has advanced the purchase and commissioning of more than 200 new items of handling equipment for both terminals.
Mawani’s president, Saad bin Abdul Aziz Al-Khalb, said: “I am confident that SGP will continue to raise the performance and customer service levels across both terminals through its strong business practices.


Saudi-Bahrain trade returns to pre-pandemic levels, witnesses hike

  • Saudi Arabia is one of Bahrain’s key trading partners

JEDDAH: Trade between Saudi Arabia and Bahrain has returned to the pre-pandemic levels with new figures revealing $1.48 billion in bilateral trade during the first half of the year.

In the first six months of 2020, the figures were up 2 percent from the same period last year, in which a total of $1.45 billion in trade was recorded between the two countries.

June’s figures showed the positive economic impact of support measures on the economies of both countries, with trade returning to $262.9 million — the highest levels since the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) struck the region in March this year. Compared to 2019, the month showed a substantial year-on-year rise of 52.45 percent.

Saudi Arabia is one of Bahrain’s key trading partners, with imports and exports flowing between the two nations via the King Fahd Causeway.

Officials have been working to increase facilities for commercial traffic, with recent renovation works including an increase in capacity by 45 percent and new gates on the Saudi side.

It was also recently announced that Bahrain Customs has installed high-tech artificial intelligence scanners at the causeway, automating data collection and allowing shipment inspections to take place before reaching the border.

According to the new figures, Bahrain’s overall trade for the year-half reached $10.4 billion globally, including $2.9 billion to the GCC.


Saudi Arabia chases UK tech firms to partner on $500bn Neom City

Senior technology execs from Gulf kingdom attend London’s Tech Week to seek partners and investors in its multi billion dollar drive to build smart cities

Saudi Arabia has called on UK companies to partner and invest in its multi-billion dollar smart cities as part of the kingdom’s transformation drive.

“The drive behind all these opportunities is that smart cities will help Saudi Arabia,” Moath Alzahrani, smart cities domain lead at the kingdom’s National Digital Transformation Unit told delegates at London’s Tech Week event.

“[Smart cities] will create jobs in the public and private sector, increase non-oil revenues and enhance liveability and sustainability,” said Alzahrani.

Saudi Arabia, which is currently building 16 smart cities, has its eye on being the world’s most connected and digitised nation by 2030 as part of its ambitious economic diversification drive.

According to Faisal Al-Sadhan, programme manager for Technology Investment at Saudi Ministry of Communications and Information Technology, the government has already invested around $4 billion on digital infrastructure in pursuit of its 2030 vision. The value of the kingdom’s ICT market is around $29 billion, with $1.3 billion earmarked for the Internet of Things (IoT) sector, he said.

“We are looking at several opportunities for technology foreign direct investment (FDI), including industrialised IoT, AI, cloud computing and data centres,” said Al-Sadhan.

Neom calling

Neom, a $500 billion mega-city to be launched on the Red Sea from 2025, is the largest and most ambitious smart city on the kingdom’s books and in the world. Backed by the Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund and international investors, the futuristic fully-digitised city is slated to contribute $100 billion to Saudi Arabia’s GDP by 2030.

“We will be the world’s first cognitive and pro-active city,” said Joseph Bradley, head of tech and digital at Neom. “We will leverage 90 percent of the data we produce and utilise it in the city. It’s never been done before. We want to build a citywide operating system that is aware, predictive and can take action.”

Bradley called on British companies to help “ignite growth” across the city’s “building blocks”, including industrial automation, massive IoT, fast-moving objects, gaming, robots and drones. “We are looking for a range of partners to bring the cognitive city to life,” he said.

In particular, Neom is seeking support and investment into IoT predictive services, location services and natural language understanding. “At Neom, it will be important for us to be able to talk in our own languages – any language – and communicate in real-time,” Bradley added.

The Neom tech head said the smart cities are also looking at ways to attract the “greatest minds in the world” through gaming applications.

“These opportunities are for right now and the foreseeable future,” said Bradley.

Ramping up the Red Sea

Simon Timmis, associate director IoT, Red Sea Development Company said the company was looking to build a fully ‘touch-free’ experience for tourists.

Slated to cover an area similar to the size of Belgium across several islands from 2022 onwards, the sprawling Red Sea Project will be powered by “an invisible backbone of technology,” said Timmis.

“We are in the middle of construction – we want fully integrated security and site operations, cashless payment experiences, one-stop shop apps, efficient water and energy management, frictionless arrival and departure processes, as well as technology to help assist with environmental preservation,” he added.

Activiting Al-Ula

Will Kemble-Clarkson, head of innovation at Royal Commission for Al-Ula, said that while coronavirus has temporarily impacted global demand for tourism, the sector remains a “long-term pillar” of Saudi Arabia’s economy.

Al-Ula, a historic city in the kingdom’s Madinah region, will see millions of dollars pumped into its heritage and resorts over the next few years under the Royal Commission.

“Al-Ula is home to heritage sites. We want to preserve them, activate them and foster a flourishing local community,” said Kemble-Clarkson. “We cherish the idea that nothing is impossible and we are looking for partners to help us do it.”

“It’s a 2000-year-old town with no tech infrastructure at all and we want to transform it over the next few years. We are interested in partners who can help us improve its government and people services, as well as the economy, environment and connectivity,” Kemble-Clarkson added.


Mawani and Tabadul launch Truck Management System in Jeddah Islamic Port

Saudi Arabia’s leading digital solutions provider Tabadul, in cooperation with Saudi Ports Authority (Mawani), today (October 6) announced the launch of the first phase of the “Truck Management System” in Jeddah Islamic Port.

The initiative is aimed at raising the operational efficiency of the port and in line with the protective measures taken by the Kingdom to limit the spread of Covid-19, a statement said.

The Truck Management System contributes to organising and managing the capacity of various ports, using the latest technologies to book appointments, monitor and manage truck movements, and electronically connect all the concerned government agencies which inter-correlate to operate and manage this system.

The System further enables exporters and importers to book appointments through FASAH platform, a single e-window for import and export in Saudi Arabia, for the pre-coordination of truck transit in the Jeddah Islamic Port in order to organise the movement of these trucks, reduce the crowded routes to the port, speed up the procedures of customs clearance, reduce the overcrowding and waiting time at docks, as well as assist in the truck flow movement and raising work efficiency.

Eng. Saad Abdulaziz Alkhalb, President of Saudi Ports Authority (Mawani), commented: “We are working on a set plan to expand the Truck Management System project to include all ports of the Kingdom. After the project was successfully implemented in King Abdulaziz Port Dammam, King Fahd Causeway in Bahrain, and Al Bathaa Port with the UAE, we are excited to announce the first phase of Truck Management System in Jeddah Islamic Port, where the system will serve to reduce time and effort by speeding up the customs clearance procedures for trucks and electronically organise their operation before they arrive at the relevant port of export, as an optional procedure for the exporting party.”

Emphasising the importance of the Truck Management System, Eng. Alkhalb said that the System provides the possibility of pre-reservation for trucks before arriving at ports, leading to the truck flow process, speeding up the procedures of truck customs clearance, boosting the efficiency of operational ports and reducing the waiting time of trucks.

He further noted that the Truck Management System generally organises the trucks and their flow movement to and from different ports of the Kingdom in a smart way by accelerating the customs clearance process and ensuring vehicles are in place on their specified time. He also noted that these steps will serve the transit of a large number of trucks efficiently and smoothly 24/7, resulting in facilitating the movement of trade across the Kingdom’s borders.

The expansion process of the Truck Management System aligns with the outstanding and high-quality e-services provided by Tabadul based on smart solutions that will raise the effectiveness of logistic services in both public and private sectors, in line with the objectives of Saudi Vision 2030.

FASAH platform is considered the smartest project of its type in finalising customs procedures at a regional level since it contributes in consistently raising the quality of services and developing them in customs ports, making a quantum leap in facilitating, speeding up and reducing the time previously spent in paperwork.

The platform, currently, serves over 68,000 exporters and importers, and the daily average electronic transactions conducted through the platform is estimated to approximately 300,000.–TradeArabia News Service



Biman has also announced that they will be operating a special flight on Friday to bring back the stranded Bangladeshis home from Jeddah

Bangladesh Biman Airlines has decided to resume operating commercial flights to Saudi Arabia from September 20, following a five-month suspension forced by the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.

The national flag carrier announced the development with a notice on its website on Wednesday

According to the notice, flights on the Dhaka-Dammam-Dhaka route will be operated every Monday and Thursday, while on the Dhaka-Riyadh-Dhaka route every Monday, Thursday, and Saturday, whereas, flights on the Chittagong-Jeddah-Dhaka route will be operated every Monday, starting from September 20.

Moreover, state-run Biman Bangladesh Airlines is also expected to resume flights on the Dhaka-Jeddah-Chittagong route and the Dhaka-Jeddah-Dhaka route.

Biman has also announced that they will be operating a special flight on Friday to bring back the stranded Bangladeshis home from Jeddah.

Since March 21, the Civil Aviation Authority, Bangladesh, or CAAB, had shut down all domestic and international flights, in an effort to contain the spread of Covid-19 in the country.

On June 1, CAAB permitted operation of all domestic flights maintaining social distancing and following health guidelines, and international flights resumed on June 16.

The shortage of passengers forced Biman to cancel its flights on all domestic routes as well, except for Chittagong, Sylhet, and Syedpur.


The New Transportation Management Playbook

While shippers work to overcome the challenges introduced by COVID-19 and settle into this new world, a focused approach bridged by digital capabilities will help bring some semblance of order out of the uncertainty. Here are three areas to consider on your way to stabilization.

The global COVID-19 pandemic has caused extreme volatility in supply and demand, disrupting supply chains unlike any other crisis. People around the world are living differently and buying differently. No business has been immune to the shifts driven by this crisis, but the freight and logistics industry in particular has experienced profound effects.

The accelerated shift to e-commerce has been one of the biggest impacts on shippers, and it’s a trend that is here to stay. Our research shows that the proportion of online purchases by infrequent e-commerce users—those who used online channels for less than 25% of purchases prior to the outbreak—has increased 160% since the outbreak.

As a result, there has been an exponential increase in demand for parcel shipments, which has already exceeded last year’s peak holiday demand. Furthermore, customers have made it clear that when given a choice between standard shipping of three business days to five business days and same-day delivery, they want the faster option thus increasing the focus on “last-mile” delivery.

Our analysis predicts that more than 50% of global e-commerce purchases will be sourced locally by 2023—a number that could easily rise to 70% by 2025. This real-time shift to e-commerce as the preferred buying channel for consumers these days along with the global disruptions from COVID-19 has affected everything in transportation management.


From new surcharges on larger shippers, constrained capacities, service level guarantees suspensions, and uncertainty of USPS short term changes, the parcel market has kept shippers on their toes trying to move goods one package at a time.

With e-commerce demand exceeding peak levels normally seen during the retail holiday seasons, parcel providers have been working around the clock to build capacities to match the demand. However, the record high volumes for this time of year have not translated to higher growth as profit levels did not follow commensurately.

This has clearly factored into carriers’ rate structures and new surcharges as they work to recover profits that were missed in earlier quarters. At Accenture, we expect upward pressure on parcel rates to continue as providers increase capacities to meet demand. Rate pressure should ease in early 2021 after providers have caught up to the growing demand and the annual general rate adjustments are implemented.


Truckload volumes, which saw a demand drop in the early stages of the pandemic, have seen a steady rise and are expected to be back to pre-pandemic levels in the short term—although they are still well below year-over-year levels.

According to the CASS Freight Index for July 2020, shipment volumes were down 13.1% relative to same time in 2019, but are growing. However, recent economic indicators are showing potentially weaker demand than expected moving into the fall. Spot rates should begin to relax from the historical levels they’re currently at and provide opportunity for shippers to lock in lower rates before the end of the year.

Rail movements

While North America total volumes are down 12% year-over-year, according to the Association of American Railroads (AAR), as we move into the fall, rail movements are also expected to be back to similar levels seen in January and February of this year.

These increases in volumes are due to imports coming back online. Pushing eastbound loads from West Coast ports have helped to normalize rail traffic, which is seeing increases in intermodal moves, while carloads are still down relative to the prior year according to the AAR. Based on this, we expect rates and capacities to normalize over the next few months as supply and demand balance out.

Outmaneuvering uncertainty

Each of these pressures can be dealt with on their own, but when combined together with the backdrop of the current pandemic, they create real challenges.

The impacts of increasing e-commerce, combined with product shortages, workforce changes, demands for contactless deliveries, and the need to balance operations with real-time dynamic changes to local and federal health mandates has turned transformation management into a chess game.

Companies can no longer just plan for their next move. They must be thinking several moves ahead and taking into consideration all the supply chain interactions in between. For example, if unload times are increasing at customer sites, that will have a direct impact on how assets get cycled, furthering the complexities that shippers were already facing prior to the pandemic.

There are many unknowns right now, but what we do know is uncertainty is here to stay. We also know that it’s very likely that demand for e-commerce will continue indefinitely, along with a permanent change to the way consumers prefer to have goods delivered. Today shippers are working hour by hour, leveraging their relationships with the carrier community, to get trucks matched to loads.

While this is certainly not a sustainable path, it’s what’s needed to move product where it needs to go as we continue to navigate a path forward. As the saying goes, you should never let a good crisis go to waste—and now is the time to start to pivot and exploit the right technologies to bring the right level of agility and intelligence to best navigate these choppy waters.


Shippers will need to continually correct their course by reassessing assumptions, reevaluating scenarios and strengthening their ability to predict and respond during this prolonged period of uncertainty. They need to position their business for greater resilience and productivity in a future where “business as usual” no longer exists.

With this in mind, we offer these three key steps that shippers can take to move forward and bring profitable growth to their businesses.

  1. Provide real-time visibility into supply chain activities. Visibility is not just “seeing” what is going on—but having a real understanding of where goods and assets are, what their immediate demands look like, and how the overall network is adjusting dynamically to the current markets.

This level of visibility requires the application of a transformative mindset to both manage and leverage the data in conjunction with best of breed analytical tools to foster superior decision-making capabilities and foresee challenges that are beginning to manifest in the supply chain.

Our research shows that supply chain leaders are investing in new technologies to turn data into insights. As they mature, they move from diagnostic to predictive and prescriptive business models. This helps provide a solid basis for collaboration inside the company and with ecosystem partners to meet customer expectations.

  1. Broaden and strengthen ecosystem relationships with ongoing and collaborative communications. Ecosystem relationships not only help keep partners on the same page, but also provide a platform to drive new value propositions to customers. This, along with the right level of visibility, can help to provide the right network configurations to bring flexibility and responsiveness—while being asset light—to drive cost efficiency and optimization across the entire value chain.

Especially in the B2C space, hyper-personalized experiences bring a complexity that makes collaborative innovation, internally and with ecosystem partners, a must. Innovation center networks are helping more companies make collaborative innovation a reality.

  1. Deploy the right set of digital capabilities that will deliver the needed agility to pivot toward growth. Every supply chain team today should be constantly evaluating which digital tools and capabilities are available to them to drive a more interconnected network and put in place the building blocks to create a truly intelligent supply chain that will become an engine for growth.

For example, leading B2B companies are moving toward a product-as-a-service model and are integrating blockchain with AI, the Internet of Things (IoT) and robotics to enhance their capabilities in this area.

On the other hand, B2C are building warehouse automation capabilities and implementing machine-to-machine order management to achieve speed and accuracy in fulfilling consumer orders but also enable customization at a micro level. In the short term, shippers should focus on those digital tools that will help bring together the ecosystem, creating the needed visibility to drive day-to-day operations.

After shippers stabilize their operations by focusing on the three areas above, they will be in position to make the transformative journey to the intelligent supply chain that delivers a true customer-centric supply chain infused with intelligence.

While we work to overcome the challenges faced by COVID-19 and settle into this new world, a focused approach bridged by digital capabilities will help bring some semblance of order out of the uncertainty we all face today.




SAL takes over operation of more airport customs security areas

Saudi Arabian Logistics (SAL) has started operating customs security areas across most of Saudi Arabia’s airports.

It is hoped the new setup will reduce the time of import operations, improve the efficiency of cargo clearance and security process, increase the storage capacity, facilitate cargo acceptance and delivery procedures.

Saudi Customs will continue to deliver customs, security and supervision services.

SAL will take over operations at King Abdulaziz International Airport, Jeddah, King Fahad International Airport, Dammam, Prince Muhammad bin Abdulziz International Airport, Madinah, Prince Sultan bin Abdulaziz International Airport, Tabuk, Prince Naif bin Abdulaziz International Airport, Qassim, Taif International Airport and Abha International Airport.

The change is part of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed previously by the Saudi Customs and the National Industrial Development and Logistics Program (NDLP), under the patronage of Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman and is part of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030, which aims to turn the country into an international leading logistic hub.

It follows SAL taking over the operation of the customs security areas at King Khalid International Airport, Riyadh, last December.


Saudi information security firm Elm to acquire Tabadul

DUBAI (Reuters) – Saudi information security company Elm is to acquire digital services company Tabadul from Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund, Elm said in a statement on Sunday. The Public Investment Fund (PIF) also owns Elm and was considering an initial public offering of the information security company, sources told Reuters in May. The value of the deal, under which Elm will acquire 100% of Tabadul’s shares, was not disclosed. The transaction is subject to securing regulatory approvals. Tabadul’s executive management will continue to lead it, the statement said, and its board will remain in place until the acquisition is finalised. Tabadul, also known as Saudi Company for Exchanging Digital Information, provides digital solutions for the logistics sector. “The combination of Elm and Tabadul will create a one-stop-shop that will cater to the entire logistics value chain,” the statement cited Elm CEO Abdulrahman Aljadhai as saying. PIF said the deal would contribute to Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030, which seeks to diversify the economy of the world’s biggest oil producer away from hydrocarbons. “As an active investor, PIF is committed towards the growth of its portfolio companies throughout their business lifecycle while seeking opportunities for synergies and collaboration between them,” PIF said. Tabadul CEO Abdulaziz Alshamsi said in the statement that the deal would enable Tabadul to expedite its new service offerings and that it will serve the customs, ports, and aviation sectors. Source:$194m

Saudi logistics sector forecast to grow to $60bn market by 2024

Growth prospects for the Saudi logistics industry look promising over the next five years, according to new research. Frost & Sullivan said economic diversification, policy reforms, tax regimes, and FDI policies are shifting in favour of an open economy and encouraging private investment. Its report added that the advent of technology and the nation’s vision on economic diversification are creating opportunities across several industry sectors such as retail, e-commerce, healthcare, and other non-oil-based industries.

Frost & Sullivan analysts forecast the market to reach $60.68 billion by the end of 2024, driven by government initiatives in trade and industry promotion, development of economic cities, infrastructure development, and economic diversification. “Saudi Arabia is focused on diversifying from oil and increasing GDP contribution from non-oil sectors by developing economic, industrial cities,” said Frost & Sullivan. “Until recently, Saudi Arabia was a closed market. However, the recent initiatives on economic diversification have opened doors to industrial, retail, and logistics players around the world by allowing 100 percent FDI ownership.”

Frost & Sullivan’s report added: “This region is extensively focusing on industrialisation and improving the transport infrastructure to become a transshipment hub. “With the rapid growth in e-commerce, automation of warehouses with built-to-suit models is likely to be in high demand through 2024. In addition, the rail freight transportation is underutilised and the government is taking necessary steps by developing new rail lines and building better port connectivity to increase the usage.”