On Sunday, the Saudi Ports Authority (Mawani) launched the Smart Ports initiative that aims to automate operations in Saudi ports, with the presence of His Excellency; the Minister of Transport and Logistics, Engineer Saleh bin Nasser Al-Jasser, His Excellency the Minister of Communications and Information Technology, Engineer Abdullah Alswaha, His Excellency; the President of Saudi Ports Authority, Mr. Omar bin Talal Hariri, and an esteemed excellencies from the eco-system and partners from the private sector, which entails a selection of leading Saudi and global companies in the technical and logistical sector.
During the launch ceremony of the Smart Ports initiative, Mawani signed three MoUs with (stc), Ericsson and Huawei, the Saudi Global Ports Company (SGP), the Red Sea Gateway Terminal Company (RSGT) and DP World, The main goal of these agreements is to make Saudi ports a pioneer in applying modern technologies and enhancing their competitiveness at the regional as well as at the international levels in the field of automated handling, serving importers and exporters, providing logistics services within the maritime transport industry, and enhancing the Kingdom's leading role in the logistics sector.
Under the three agreements, all parties will cooperate in accelerating and implementing 5G technology in both the logistics and operation sector in order to contribute to the automation of port operations and other automation initiatives in addition to cooperating in providing communications and information technology services as well as infrastructure, cloud computing services development, cybersecurity, application services, and platforms.
Mawani will work with its partners to activate the innovation, research and developing methodology for emerging technologies, starting from the stage of producing creative ideas to the stage of developing a technical conception and feasibility study for applicable ideas that will in its role result in new products and solutions that will contribute to upgrading the operational system and raising the quality of performance of the Saudi ports network.
During his speech at the launch ceremony of the initiative, the President of Saudi Ports Authority, Mr. Omar bin Talal Hariri, said: “Today, Saudi ports are entering a crucial stage of transforming into automated Smart Ports by adopting the technologies of the Fourth Industrial Revolution with their advanced applications besides relying on AI technology, IoT and technologies of 5G with the aim of raising the efficiency of the operational performance of Saudi port network and developing the marine transport system to enhance the Kingdom's presence on the global logistics services map."
The President Mr. Omar bin Tala Hariri added that Saudi ports play a pivotal role in achieving the goals of the Saudi Vision 2030 to increase the gross domestic product share of non-oil exports from 16% to 50%, especially since the ports account for more than 90% of the Saudi export movement. This movement constitutes an influential hub in diversifying sources within the national economy, noting that the shift to Smart Ports will contribute in an unexpected way to stimulating and attracting investments in the sectors of ports, marine transport, logistics services, and developing the movement of Saudi exports and imports to and from local and global markets.
The President also pointed out that the Smart Ports initiative is one of the great results of the corporate strategy of the Saudi Ports Authority that was launched during the past few months, with objectives derived from the objectives of the National Transport and Logistics Strategy and from Saudi Vision 2030 in developing a prosperous and sustainable maritime sector and to position the Kingdom's as a global logistics hub. He referred that the Smart Ports initiative will contribute to achieving the Kingdom's leadership in preserving the marine environment through the adoption of clean and renewable energy and implementing the latest technology equipment in all operational processes in Saudi ports.
Eng. Olayan Al Wetaid; CEO of stc Group, said: "stc is committed to its role as a leading national company and the largest digital enabler in the region by providing advanced technical solutions to our partners in various sectors, and this agreement comes to transform Saudi ports into Smart Ports operating with 5G technologies, as a part of stc's strategy. This agreement aims at enable digital transformation in various fields, taking advantage of the Kingdom's strategic location at the cross point of three continents, promoting investment in international connectivity services and data centers in addition to extracting value from the group's multiple assets, services and advanced technologies."
It is noteworthy that the Saudi Ports Authority is working on enhancing the level of services to the main stake holders along with its partners, and intends to raise the Kingdom's rating in the Logistics Performance Index to 4.01, in addition to achieving progress in the Kingdom's ranking within the Logistics Performance Index from rank 49 to rank 10 globally. Ensuring its leadership regionally, the Saudi Ports Authority aims to develop a sustainable and prosperous maritime sector, to position the Kingdom as a global logistics hub and enables it to achieve its economic and social ambitions.