RIYADH: OXAGON, the industrial city of NEOM announced by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, will be "a blueprint of the blue economy" that will rest on marine industry, NEOM CEO Nadhmi Al-Nasr told Arab News on Tuesday, adding that its facilities will cut the ship-to-factory time to a day at most.
He said the industrial city will reflect NEOM’s commitment to regenerative and innovative structure, as OXAGON will create land by “urbanizing the sea” with floating districts that will host marine research incubators, greenhouses and an oceanographic institute supported by mixed-use and residential communities.
“It will become a blueprint for the blue economy focused on the sustainable use of marine resources to boost economic growth, improve livelihoods, create employment and preserve the health of the oceanic ecosystem.”
The strategic location of OXAGON will redefine logistics and provide NEOM and the Kingdom accelerated access to Eastern and Western global markets, he added.
“The digital technologies, OXAGON will invest in, will enable it to become one of the world’s first fully integrated next generation port and supply chain,” he said.
“What this means is that we will have the capacity to reduce supply chain times by 2 to 3 weeks and expedite ship to factory delivery within 12 to 24 hours,” Al-Nasr elaborated.
Keeping in view NEOM’s semi-autonomous future, the top official is optimistic that the industrial hub’s regulatory structure will create a business climate that “drives innovation, fosters commercial ecosystems and generates growth.”
“OXAGON will be a one-stop shop for a seamless business journey offering support every step of the way,” he told Arab News.
When asked about maintaining a balance between industrialization and sustainability, the CEO referred to the distinct octagonal design, which he claimed will “support preserving 95 percent of the natural environment at NEOM, minimize impact on the land, preserve the coastline and optimize the total use of the terrain.”
OXAGON will become a blueprint for the Blue Economy
With more than 10km2 of primary Blue Economy plots that shall be the foundation for innovation across value chains, OXAGON will be reflecting NEOM’s focus on regenerative and innovative development
1. Including future plans for a pioneering oceanographic institute for marine exploration and research, marine biotechnology, and aquaculture
2. A floating cruise terminal that along with the oceanographic institute will become the main features of the floating structure, establishing the Blue Economy
3. In its final stages of development, the city will become the world’s first place to combine livability and industrial development (Industry 4.0), contributing to the Blue Economy and attracting innovators and researchers – the engine of NEOM
“Built half on land and half on sea, the layout symbolizes OXAGON’s dedication to striking a balance between technology and ecology, industry and nature. Also, businesses operating there may impact change in more ways than one, thanks to low-cost 100 percent clean energy and net-positive energy infrastructure,” Al-Nasr explained.
He said OXAGON will be a testament that reaffirms NEOM’s mission to prove that exceptional livability and industrial advancement are not mutually exclusive.
“It will champion people-centric urbanism that prioritizes their quality of life,” Al-Nasr stressed.
“The city will be a place where people, industry and technology coexist in harmony, allowing them to make the largest impact on the world and the least impact on the planet. It will be a highly cognitive city with data and technology built into its DNA from inception, enabling it to not only adapt to its residents’ needs, but also evolve to anticipate them.”
To a question about the sectors that OXAGON will focus on, Al-Nasr said it will establish smart factories and products of the future across seven priority manufacturing sectors: Renewable energy, water innovation, sustainable food production, health and well-being, zero-emission autonomous mobility solutions, modern methods of construction.
“This is all underpinned by an enabling tech and digital solutions that underpin everything we do at OXAGON and NEOM,” he added.
The city will be home to the world’s largest hydrogen production facilities, to support the foundation for the hydrogen economy. The plant will provide access to low-cost, zero-carbon clean energy.
He also said OXAGON will invest highly in research and development. “The development of OXAGON’s innovation campus, which will host the education, research and innovation ecosystem, provides a space to incubate new ideas and accelerate sophisticated products from labs to markets.”
Al-Nasr said OXAGON will partner with universities, industry associations and incubators to take part in revolutionizing manufacturing technology, advanced materials development and product design.