JEDDAH: The development and success of Saudi maritime sector topped the agenda on day two of the international Sustainable Marine Development Towards 2030 and Beyond conference in Jeddah on Wednesday.
The evening session highlighted the Kingdom’s achievements in the fields of maritime security and safety, and protection of the marine environment. It also focused on the successes of the Kingdom’s maritime industries and shipping companies.
Speaking on the sidelines of the event, Fareed Al-Qahtani, vice chairman of the Saudi Public Transport Authority (PTA) for the maritime transport sector, said that in the past two years the nation has made qualitative leaps in maritime transport in terms of ship registration and cargo quantities.
“Between 2017 and 2018, the tonnage has more than doubled to 8 million tons,” he said, adding that the total is expected to reach about 9 million tons by the end of this year.
Al-Qahtani pointed out that Saudi ports are modern and able to cater to a wide variety of types and sizes of ships and tankers.
“The Kingdom’s ports also apply the highest standards of maritime safety, so that accidents involving ships flying the Saudi flag are minimal, and there were no maritime accidents in territorial waters this year,” he added.
Saudi Arabia is a member of 40 international conventions issued by the International Maritime Organization (IMO), said Al-Qahtani, which reflects the commitment of the country’s maritime transport industry to the organization’s ideals. He added that these agreements help to enhance safety, protect Saudi waters and beaches from pollution, improve the competency of ships’ crews, and improve navigation, all of which ultimately benefits the national economy. A national strategy has been developed and adopted by the PTA and its national partners to implement international maritime conventions, he said.
Al-Qahtani expects the major achievements by the maritime-transport sector to continue in a number of areas, in particular the academic field. Two colleges specializing in maritime studies have been established, which will help to rectify the problem of a shortage of qualified workers in the vital marine sector.
He said that the Kingdom this year began issuing maritime certificates of competency, through the PTA. The highest scientific and practical standards are applied when granting this certification, in accordance with Standards of Training, Certification, and Watchkeeping conventions.
Al-Qahtani also stressed the empowerment of more women to work in the maritime sector as one of the organization’s objectives.
The Sustainable Marine Development Towards 2030 and Beyond conference, organized by the PTA in cooperation with IMO, concludes on Thursday,