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SAUDI ARABIA - Transport

Mohammad Shihab

Area Managing Director Saudi Arabia & Upper Gulf, A.P. Moller – MAERSK

Bio

Mohammad Shihab is Managing Director for Maersk Saudi Arabia and several countries in the GCC and Middle East. He has been based out of the Kingdom since 2016 and has overseen the expansion of Maersk activities into logistics and services solutions to integrate with the global container logistics business of Maersk. He has overseen the inception of the largest integrated logistics park investment for Maersk worldwide todate, the Maersk Logistics park in Jeddah, and various other end services across the Kingdom. Prior to his appointment in the Kingdom, he was in a similar role in Egypt and has 20-plus years of experience in. shipping and logistics with roles in the Middle East and Western and Eastern Europe. Under his leadership, Maersk Saudi Arabia has achieved the highest customer satisfaction NPS results globally for six consecutive years.

"Maersk has been operating in Saudi Arabia since the 1950s. The company holds the leading market share in ocean container shipping in Saudi Arabia."
With operations in more than 130 countries around the globe, Maersk is a global leader in shipping services.
What is the importance of KSA for the company?

Maersk has been operating in Saudi Arabia since the 1950s. The company holds the leading market share in ocean container shipping in Saudi Arabia. The Kingdom is a crucial part of Maersk’s business, with a significant volume and customer base, particularly in the refrigerated food, petrochemical, FMCG and retail segments. While we have been well established in Saudi Arabia for decades, our role initially was only limited to ocean container transportation until a few years ago. The company has since expanded and widened its portfolio and invested heavily in building and reinforcing its logistics and services infrastructures to better serve the Kingdom’s needs and realization of many of Vision 2030 priorities and goals.

How does Maersk’s vision align with Vision 2030?

We are fully aligned with Vision 2030, and all our actions are driven by it. The vision aims to diversify Saudi Arabia’s economy and society by transitioning from an oil-dependent country to a more diversified one. Under the various pillars within that vision, there is an infrastructure and logistics infrastructure component, and this is where Maersk comes in. In 2018, we decided to transition from an ocean shipping line strategy to become an integrator of container logistics, which allows us to differentiate ourselves in the market with a diversified and integrated strategy. Historically, our strategy for our business model was ocean centric. In recent years, we have approached the market with a differentiated integrated logistics service offering to our customers. Maersk’s new strategy is in line with the Kingdom’s 2030 Vision, and our collaboration with the Saudi Ports Authority (Mawani) is a great example of our new strategy. Together with Mawani, we broke the ground on the largest integrated logistics park at Jeddah Islamic Port, which demonstrates our commitment to investing in the development of the infrastructure to attract Saudi-based cargo. This investment will unlock the geographical potential of Saudi Arabia, making it a logistics hub for the Red Sea, the Middle East, North and East Africa, and the Horn of Africa along with other regional geographies. Our initiative is the biggest singleside investment Maersk is doing worldwide and the most advanced logistics facility and logistics park in any Saudi port thus far. We are extremely proud of this collaboration with Mawani and Saudi Arabia. Through this collaboration, we have achieved great synergy with local stakeholders, customers, and the government, and it is an initial stepping stone in achieving our goals and commitment to the Kingdom.

Can you shed some more light on this facility and its benefits to other businesses?

Spanning 229,000sqm, the Maersk Logistics Park at the Jeddah Islamic Port helps to position the Kingdom and the port of Jeddah as a major logistics center, leveraging direct access to major trade lanes to provide short transit times and trans-shipments. The facility integrates all logistics services end-to-end for major verticals such as FMCG, frozen and chilled products, retail, chemical, automotive, technology, e-commerce, i.e., including ocean, air, and land-side transportation. It can process more than 2.4 million pallets of cargo inbound and outbound annually and is equipped with fully climatized premium storage and handling capabilities for all kinds of cargo. The Maersk Logistics Park is also a strong enabler of Vision 2030’s sustainability ambition. Some 63,000sqm of solar panels act as the primary source of energy to power this facility, and it generates over 60% of the total energy consumed. The facility will operate a base for e-trucks and vans including fast charge stations. Moreover, the facility will generate over 2,500 job opportunities directly and indirectly for Saudi citizens. It has also resulted in the launch of an initiative to establish a logistics academy dedicated to women. The objective of this academy is to educate, train, and enhance the skillsets of Saudi women to enable them to work in specialized logistics services.

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