Saudi Arabia will invest more than 500 billion riyals ($133.34 billion) in the sectors including seaports, airports, rail, and other infrastructure till the end of the decade to make the kingdom a global transportation and logistics hub, as per its transport on Monday.
Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman announced a transport and logistics drive last Tuesday with few details that have been released publicly as he is pushing economic diversification to discourage Saudi Arabia from oil revenues and creating jobs.
In an event in Saudi Arabia, Minister of Transport and Logistic Services Saleh bin Nasser al-Jasser stated that the policy comprised of many megaprojects, with more than 500 billion riyals earmarked for investment.
The approach is the latest economic strategy to put Riyadh as a competitor with the UAE, the region’s business, trade, and tourism hub.
As stated by Abdulaziz Al-Duauilj, the head of the aviation authority at the same event, Saudi Arabia aims at increasing the number of international aviation routes from 99 to more than 250 and to increase more than triple total annual passenger traffic from 103 million (2019) to 330 million (2030).
At present, the international network of the kingdom is significantly smaller as compared to neighboring smaller states like Qatar or the UAE, which are both large air transit hubs.
According to Al-Duauilj, the annual capacity at Jeddah’s King Abdulaziz International Airport and Riyadh’s King Khalid International Airport and would expand to 100 million passengers but didn’t mention when.
He also stated that the kingdom was planning to be a global air freight logistics hub, handling 4.5 million tonnes of air cargo per year, from 900,000 in 2019.
It was previously announced by Saudi Arabia that a new airline would be introduced as part of the policy, to make it the fifth-biggest global air passenger transit hub.
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The new national carrier would target international transit traffic, to compete directly against Gulf giants Qatar Airways and Emirates.