Saudi Arabia launches National Transport and Logistics Strategy

Saudi Arabia launches National Transport and Logistics Strategy
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Updated 01 July 2021

Saudi Arabia launches National Transport and Logistics Strategy

Saudi Arabia launches National Transport and Logistics Strategy
  • Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman announced details of the ambitious program, which aims to position the Kingdom as a global logistics hub
  • ‘It will enhance the connection with the global economy,” he said, and help to diversify ‘our economy by establishing an advanced logistics-services industry’

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman on Tuesday launched his country’s National Transport and Logistics Strategy.

The comprehensive program aims to position the Kingdom as a global logistics hub connecting three continents, and improve all transport services in support of Saudi Vision 2030.

A host of game-changing projects are planned to help achieve the strategy’s economic and social goals, along with improved governance to enhance the work of the organizations involved. It also reflects the renaming of the Ministry of Transport as the Ministry of Transport and Logistics Services.

“This strategy will strengthen human and technical capabilities in the transport and logistics sector in the Kingdom,” the crown price said.

“It will enhance the connection with the global economy and enable our country to invest its geographical position, in the middle of three continents, in diversifying our economy by establishing an advanced logistics-services industry, building high-quality systems of services, and applying competitive business models to enhance productivity and sustainability in the logistics sector.

“Transport and logistics are a major focus of the programs of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 and a vital enabling factor for economic sectors toward sustainable development.”

He added that areas covered by the strategy include the development of infrastructure, the launch of a number of platforms and logistics zones in the Kingdom, the implementation of advanced operating models and systems, and the building and enhancement of effective partnerships between the government and the private sector.

It has four main goals: to transform Saudi Arabia into a logistics hub; boost the quality of life across the country; enhance fiscal sustainability; and improve the performance of public entities. Crown Prince Mohammed said that the strategy also aims to move Saudi Arabia into fifth place globally in terms of number of transit passengers, increase the number of international destinations served by the country to more than 250, and launch a new national air carrier. The successful implementation of these projects will help other sectors, such as Hajj, Umrah and tourism, to achieve their own goals for improvement and growth.

The new strategy also seeks to improve the capabilities of the air cargo sector by doubling its capacity to more than 4.5 million tons.

Regarding the plans for maritime transport, the crown prince said: “The strategy enables us to reach a capacity of more than 40 million containers annually.” He added that it includes associated investments in developing port infrastructure and enhancing integration with the logistics sector, as well as expanding connectivity with international shipping lines and improving integration with rail and road networks, which will contribute “to improving the efficiency of the transport ecosystem and its economics.”

He said that the Kingdom’s railways currently provide passenger and freight services through a network of 5,330 kilometers of track, 450km of which is the Haramain high-speed railway between Mecca and Madinah, the largest high-speed transport project in the region.

The new strategy will increase the total length of the rail network to an estimated 8,080km. It includes a “land bridge” project that will span more than 1,300km and connect the Kingdom’s ports on the coast of the Arabian Gulf with those on the Red Sea coast. It will have the capacity to transport more than 3 million passengers and 50 million tons of freight annually, opening up new opportunities in the areas it passes through.

It is hoped that it will improve the Kingdom’s logistics performance index so that it ranks among the top 10 countries in the world. By providing an open market for operators and investors in railways, it aims to encourage interconnection between Arab Gulf states and position the Kingdom as an influential force in the regional and international transport economies.

The crown prince stressed that the strategy builds on important existing pillars, such as the Kingdom’s road network, which provides a high level of connectivity that compares well with global benchmarks.

The new strategy aims to position the Kingdom among the most advanced countries in terms of road quality and safety. To achieve this, it includes initiatives designed to reduce the number of road-traffic accidents, implement the best global practices, achieve efficient connectivity, and develop public transport in Saudi cities.

In addition there are environmental goals, including enhanced sustainability, a reduction in fuel consumption by 25 percent, and the provision of smart solutions to transport challenges through the adoption of cutting-edge and innovative global technologies.

One of the main objectives of the strategy, the crown prince noted, is to increase the contribution of the transport and logistics sector to national gross domestic product from the current 6 percent to 10 percent. This will help to fuel business growth, expand investments, and increase the sector’s non-oil revenues to about SR 45 billion ($12 billion) a year by 2030, he said.

“We are proud of the achievements made under the leadership of (King Salman),” said the crown prince. “And we plan to move forward to achieve more leaps that benefit our country and advance its leading position in the world by increasing efforts and achieving more successes supported by our highly ambitious people.

“We are all confident in our ability to achieve national goals following the Kingdom’s 2030 Vision.”


Saudi Arabia registers 2 COVID-19 deaths, 35 new infections

Saudi Arabia registers 2 COVID-19 deaths, 35 new infections
Updated 24 sec ago

Saudi Arabia registers 2 COVID-19 deaths, 35 new infections

Saudi Arabia registers 2 COVID-19 deaths, 35 new infections
  • Ministry of Interior records 1,134 violations against precautionary measures in past week
  • Municipalities close several businesses and issue fines to a number of others for breaching coronavirus protocols

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia confirmed two new COVID-19 related deaths on Sunday, raising the total number of fatalities to 8,844.
The Ministry of Health confirmed 35 new cases reported in the Kingdom in the previous 24 hours, meaning 549,912 people have now contracted the disease. Of the total number of cases, 39 remain in critical condition.
According to the ministry, the highest number of cases were recorded in the capital Riyadh with 14, followed by Jeddah with nine, while 12 other regions recorded one case each.
The health ministry also announced that 45 patients had recovered from COVID-19, bringing the total number of recoveries in the Kingdom to 539,056.
Over 47.6 million COVID-19 vaccine doses have been administered since the Kingdom’s immunization campaign started. More than 22.6 million people have been fully vaccinated.


The Ministry of Interior reported 1,134 violations in the past week, with the highest number of breaches recorded in Makkah with 346, followed by Madinah with 298, Riyadh with 275, and Hail with 82. The Northern Borders Province recorded the lowest number of violations with one.
The ministry called on citizens and residents to abide by the preventive protocols and the instructions issued by authorities.
Saudi municipalities have also ramped up efforts to monitor compliance with health and safety measures.
The municipality of Eastern Province carried out 8,463 inspection tours of commercial centers and facilities during the last week. Authorities recorded 499 violations and closed eight businesses for not adhering to the precautionary measures.
Al-Baha Municipality carried out 3,994 tours in the past week and field teams issued fines to 83 commercial outlets and closed 16 others for breaching protocols.
Authorities from the Northern Borders Province, represented by Rafha Municipality, recorded 17 violations and closed two businesses last week.
Officials have also called on the public to report any suspected health breaches by phoning the 940 call center number or contacting authorities through the Balady app.
The coronavirus pandemic has affected over 265 million people globally and the death toll has reached around 5.26 million.


Saudi Arabia’s king sends letter to Gulf leaders on developing relations

Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan meets his Bahraini counterpart Dr. Abdullatif Al-Zayani in Manama. (SPA)
Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan meets his Bahraini counterpart Dr. Abdullatif Al-Zayani in Manama. (SPA)
Updated 27 min 36 sec ago

Saudi Arabia’s king sends letter to Gulf leaders on developing relations

Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan meets his Bahraini counterpart Dr. Abdullatif Al-Zayani in Manama. (SPA)
  • The written messages were delivered by Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s King Salman sent a written message to his Bahraini counterpart King Hamad, regarding the strong bilateral relations and ways to support and enhance them, Saudi Press Agency reported on Sunday.
The message was delivered by Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan, during a meeting with his Bahraini counterpart Dr. Abdullatif Al-Zayani in the capital, Manama.
During the meeting, Prince Faisal conveyed greetings from King Salman to King Hamad, and his wishes for continued progress and prosperity for the kingdom and the Bahraini people.
King Salman also sent similar written messages to Kuwait’s Emir Sheikh Nawaf Al-Ahmed Al-Jaber Al-Sabah and Qatar’s Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad.
The messages were also delivered by Prince Faisal during meetings with Kuwaiti Crown Prince Sheikh Meshaal Al-Ahmed Al-Jaber Al-Sabah in Kuwait City and the Qatari emir in Doha.
Sheikh Meshaal conveyed his greetings to King Salman and wished him good health and wellness, and the Saudi people continued development and growth.
Sheikh Tamim also conveyed similar sentiments to the king and the Saudi people.


Visitors flocking to rare bird collection in Riyadh’s Salam Park

Visitors flocking to rare bird collection in Riyadh’s Salam Park
Updated 05 December 2021

Visitors flocking to rare bird collection in Riyadh’s Salam Park

Visitors flocking to rare bird collection in Riyadh’s Salam Park

RIYADH: Visitors are flocking to Salam Park’s bird garden, part of Riyadh Season’s 14 zones, where colorful exotic parrots have found a new home.

The zone, which opened on Nov. 19, has been well received by visitors, with thousands of people marveling at the winged creatures on display.

Visitors can find more than 50 different bird species in the garden, including scarlet macaws, cockatiel, white peacocks, cockatoos, pionus parrots and many more.

The owner of the garden, Ahmed Khoja, has raised and trained birds for 15 years. He told Arab News that he transformed his hobby into a business in 2016.

“We witnessed a great turnout from visitors and everyone was pleased with the efforts that we are putting in. The turnout is now huge as we get about 700 to 1000 visitors per day,” Khoja said.

“The popularity in Riyadh Season is more than expected. We have 80 to 100 visitors every 15 minutes and 100 to 300 people waiting in line to enter the garden, which is very surprising,” he added.

Mohammed Awaji, a 13-year-old parrot trainer, used the opportunity to take part in Riyadh Season and hone the skills he has developed for more than two years.

“A lot of visitors here are passionate about parrots, and I feel like this place is perfect for people with this kind of hobby. We are striving to raise more awareness about animal culture. So far, visitors are conscious and committed to precautions,” Awaj said.

He added that some of the parrot species are exotic and rare and that within Saudi Arabia, Salam Park is the only place where they can be viewed.

“Sitting on my shoulder, we have a cacatua moluccensis, one of the rarest parrots. Its price is estimated between $50,000 and $150,000. This bird is native to Indonesia,” Awaji said, describing the trained salmon-crested cockatoo perched on his shoulder.

When people enter the bird garden, they arrive among a variety of visitors, including locals, foreigners, children and people with disabilities.

Sultan Al-Otaibi, a visitor with down’s syndrome, told Arab News how excited and happy he was to touch and play with birds, and said that people with the condition are particularly fond of animals.

“The birds are so colorful and beautiful, especially the red ones, and the place is amazing. I touched all the birds. Without fear, I placed them on my arm. I want to come every day,” he added.

Manar Mohammed, a Saudi visitor, told Arab News that it was her first time seeing many of the birds within the Kingdom.

“My three-year-old daughter had so much fun here because she loves animals, and this kind of activity was much needed in Riyadh Season. The bird collection is enormous, and most of them look different to what we are used to seeing,” she said.

Mary Jane, a visitor from the Philippines, told Arab News that the Riyadh Season far exceeded her expectations and helped her feel less homesick after she reconnected with some of the native fauna of her homeland.

“I couldn’t imagine how beautiful it is. Riyadh Season met the expectations of their slogan, ‘Imagine More!’ It’s the first time I’ve seen these birds for a long time. It was nice to find this kind of activity in our second home, Saudi Arabia,” Jane said.

The garden is one of the activities included in the Salam Tree zone. Salam Tree, which means the tree of peace, is included among the free zones as part of Riyadh Season in 2021. Visitors can book tickets from Riyadh Season’s website to visit the garden.

 


President Macron’s visit to Saudi Arabia signals new era in French-Saudi cooperation

President Macron’s visit to Saudi Arabia signals new era in French-Saudi cooperation
Updated 05 December 2021

President Macron’s visit to Saudi Arabia signals new era in French-Saudi cooperation

President Macron’s visit to Saudi Arabia signals new era in French-Saudi cooperation
  • Wide-ranging joint statement and slew of agreements testify to a growing Saudi-French bilateral partnership
  • Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and President Macron held telephone meeting with Lebanon PM Najib Mikati

JEDDAH: A joint statement covering a wide range of issues and the signing of a slew of agreements were the highlights of a visit to Saudi Arabia by French President Emmanuel Macron during the final leg of a two-day Gulf tour.

The agreements related to economic cooperation were announced by Saudi and French companies on Saturday while Macron held talks with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. The crown prince met Macron at Al-Salam Palace, where they discussed bilateral cooperation and held a telephone call with Lebanon’s Prime Minister Najib Mikati.

The three countries agreed to work together to support comprehensive reforms necessary in Lebanon, according to official reports, which added that Saudi Arabia and France emphasized their keen desire to see security and stability prevail in the country.

French President Emmanuel Macron met Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman as the president continued his multi-country tour of the Gulf. (SPA)

“The two sides stressed … that reforms should include the sectors of finance, energy, combating corruption and border control. The two sides also agreed to work with Lebanon to ensure the implementation of these measures,” the joint statement, carried by the Saudi Press Agency (SPA), said.

“They also emphasized the need to limit arms to legitimate institutions of the state, and that Lebanon should not be a launching pad for any terrorist acts that destabilize the security and stability of the region, or a source of drug trafficking.

“They also … agreed to establish a Saudi-French mechanism for humanitarian assistance that ensures complete transparency, and expressed their determination to find appropriate mechanisms in cooperation with friendly countries and allies to alleviate the suffering of the Lebanese people.”

Saudi Arabia and France have committed to enhancing cultural cooperation and exchange across a broad range of cultural fields. (SPA)

On the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, “the two sides reiterated their support for achieving peace in the Middle East, and the importance of reaching a comprehensive settlement … to be based on the two-state solution, the relevant legitimate resolutions and Arab Peace Initiative in a way that ensures the right of the Palestinian people to establish their state on 1967 borders with East Al-Quds (Jerusalem) as its capital, calling, in this context, for an end to the Israeli settlement policy that threatens the two-state solution.”

With regard to Iran, the joint statement said: “The two sides expressed their deep concern over the development of the Iranian nuclear program and the lack of cooperation and transparency with the International Atomic Energy Agency.

INNUMBERS

$4.37bn French direct investment in KSA economy.

“France stressed its determination not to allow Iran to develop or acquire a nuclear weapon. They also agreed on the need to confront Iran's destabilizing activities in the region, including the use and transfer of drones and ballistic missiles that led to attacks on the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.”

Addressing the Yemen crisis, the statement said “France affirmed its full support for the Saudi peace initiative that was presented on March 22, 2021, and condemned the ballistic missile and drone attacks launched by Houthi militia and affirmed its historical commitment to preserving the security of the Kingdom.”

In other developments on Saturday, Dr. Mohammed bin Saud Al-Tamimi, CEO of the Saudi Space Commission, and Philippe Baptiste, CEO of the French National Center for Space Studies, signed a joint cooperation agreement in the field of the peaceful use of outer space, according to the SPA.

The Saudi Arabia, France and Lebanon agreed to work together to support comprehensive reforms necessary in the mediterranean country. (SPA)

The agreement “aims to provide a framework for cooperation in space activities in the peaceful uses of space, facilitate the exchange of information and technologies, contribute to capacity building and competencies, organize mutual visits and meetings, hold training courses and specialized workshops, as well as the joint cooperation to develop a mechanism for space-based climate monitoring.”

The SPA also reported that a memorandum of understanding was signed on Saturday that cements cultural relations between Saudi Arabia and France. “Coming only weeks after Saudi Minister of Culture Prince Badr bin Farhan Al-Saud met with his French counterpart, Dr. Roselyn Bachelot, in Paris, the MoU is the latest example of strengthening cultural ties between the two countries,” the report said.

It added: “Under the five-year agreement, Saudi Arabia and France have committed to enhancing cultural cooperation and exchange across a broad range of cultural fields, including architecture, audiovisual production, design, film, heritage, literature, performing arts and visual arts.

The crown prince met the French president at Al-Salam Palace in Jeddah. (SPA)

“In addition, the MoU will facilitate the two countries to explore cultural regulations and policies. There will also be opportunities to increase the participation of Saudi and French artists in residency exchange programs and strengthen cooperation between artists and cultural institutions in both countries.”

The SPA said that a separate agreement to enhance tourism cooperation between the two countries was co-signed by Ahmed Al-Khateeb, the Saudi tourism minister, and Franck Riester, the French minister delegate for foreign trade and economic attractiveness.

It quoted Al-Khateeb as saying: "France, through its knowledge and experience, will help the Kingdom in developing its tourism activity to attract investments with a cost of $810 billion, which will provide the country with tourism opportunities outside the Hajj season. The Kingdom is expected to have new investment opportunities with a cost of $6 trillion by 2030, and this is a matter of excitement.”


Saudi Translation Forum: Language plays ‘crucial role’ in shaping society

The forum hosted engaging panel discussions that explored the role of translation in bridging cultures. (SPA)
The forum hosted engaging panel discussions that explored the role of translation in bridging cultures. (SPA)
Updated 05 December 2021

Saudi Translation Forum: Language plays ‘crucial role’ in shaping society

The forum hosted engaging panel discussions that explored the role of translation in bridging cultures. (SPA)
  • First Saudi Translation Forum discusses future of industry

RIYADH: The first Saudi Translation Forum recently concluded in Riyadh, wherein translation experts, both local and international, gathered for the two-day event to examine the main issues and challenges facing the global translation industry.

The forum was held under the patronage of Prince Badr bin Abdullah bin Farhan, minister of culture, and organized by the Literature, Publishing and Translation Commission at the Ministry of Education.

The forum was inaugurated by the commission’s CEO Dr. Mohammed Hasan Alwan, who, in his opening speech, emphasized the importance of translation and the need to modernize the industry.

He pointed to the efforts of the commission to take the Saudi translation sector to the highest level of professionalism.


“We are proud to have hosted the first successful edition of the Translation Forum. It has been a true honor to bring together some of the top experts in the translation sector to discuss ways we can work together to advance the sector. Saudi Arabia has one of the biggest translation and publishing markets in the region, and we are exerting all efforts to grow the sector even more through nurturing and encouraging local writers and translators, forging international collaborations, and developing a supportive regulatory framework,” said Alwan.

HIGHLIGHT

As part of the forum, the Literature, Publishing and Translation Commission organized the Kingdom’s first audiovisual translation challenge for students, amateurs, and professionals in the field. During the two-day ‘Motivation Challenge,’ teams of two to three members competed in translating short film clips discussing Saudi culture and history from Arabic into English, French, Spanish, and Korean.

Speaking to Arab News on challenges facing the global translation community, Prof. Brian James Baer, president of the American Translation and Interpretation Association and an expert at the forum, said: “One of the big problems that we are facing is stagnant income for translators, and in a broader sense, a lack of understanding of what translation is. People don’t understand what is involved in translation.

“Many think that translation is simply linguistic matching, and they don’t understand that language is asymmetrical, and you need to manage this asymmetry. So, it is always going to be a very creative decision-making process,” he said, confirming what other speakers at the forum noted regarding the creativity involved in translation and the current limits of machine translation, especially of literary works.

“I believe that we all have an investment in what I call translation literacy so that everyone understands better what is involved. Publishers should give translators credible visibility, allow them to improve notes, and in general, we should teach translation in foreign languages departments.”

On the impact of new technology, Baer said that digitization and globalization have exponentially increased the volume of texts that are translated.

“We need to use technology wisely and understand that it will create new job opportunities for translators editing and revising both human and machine-translated texts,” he said.

The forum hosted engaging panel discussions and interactive workshops that presented new tools and techniques in the fields of literary translation, news translation, political translation, and language interpretation.

Discussions highlighted international best practices in using translation technologies and computer-assisted translation tools.

It explored the role of translation in bridging cultures and the regulations governing the industry.

Dr. Mohammed Al-Barakati, one of the panelists, said that language and translation play a “crucial role” in shaping society and culture, while Prof. Martha Lucia Pulido Correa commented that Europeans owe much to Islam because of the translation efforts that bridged linguistic gaps between the two cultures.

In a panel discussion titled “The Role of Translation in Sports,” professionals in sports translation agreed that this field has a bright future in Saudi Arabia.

In terms of publicity and marketing, speakers stressed the importance of having interpreters in football clubs, highlighting the diversity of the players and how this helps clubs gain popularity internationally.

During the session titled “Audiovisual Translation: Profession/Hobby,” academics and audiovisual translation experts stressed the necessity of cross-sector collaboration for the industry’s success.

As part of the forum, the Literature, Publishing and Translation Commission organized the Kingdom’s first audiovisual translation challenge for students, amateurs, and professionals in the field.

During the two-day “Motivation Challenge,” teams of two to three members competed in translating short film clips discussing Saudi culture and history from Arabic into English, French, Spanish, and Korean. Prizes ranged from SR5,500 ($1,466) to SR20,000 for winners in two tracks: amateurs/students and professionals.

The forum hosted 10 workshops to develop attendees’ skills in a number of areas, including the applications of media and news translation, transition project management, conference interpreting, and strategies of critical multimodal discourse analysis of audiovisual texts.

An accompanying exhibition was a part of the forum to foster ties between associations.