In a bid to make Saudi Arabia a global transportation and logistics hub, the country will invest over 500 billion riyals ($133.34 billion) in airports, sea ports, rail and other infrastructure by 2030, informed the transport minister.
Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman announced a transport and logistics drive, details of which have been partially released publicly, last Tuesday.
Minister of Transport and Logistic Services Saleh bin Nasser said that the strategy included many mega projects, with over 500 billion riyals reserved for investment.
About 35% of that spending will come from the government and the rest from the private sector as officials launch a new international airline, expand airports, build a broader train network and explore new technologies, Transport Minister Saleh Al Jasser said Monday.
“Many of the targeted projects are bankable projects, attractive projects,” the minister said in an interview in Riyadh. “This will open big opportunities for partnership with the private sector, whether local or international.”
The plans are part of a strategy announced by Prince Mohammed last week, in a bid to diversify the economy of the world’s largest crude exporter.
The aim is to transform the capital of Riyadh into a global business hub, attract foreign talent and rope in 100 million tourists a year by the end of the decade.
New international Airline
At the center of the strategy is the sovereign Public Investment Fund’s plan to launch a new international airline with its hub in Riyadh, as part of the strategy to make the kingdom the fifth biggest global air passenger hub.
“We believe that we need another hub in Riyadh and it makes sense that a new operator will take that mission,” Al Jasser said, adding he sees Saudia expanding as well given the sheer size of anticipated demand.
“There will be room for Saudia to grow and there will be room for the new airline to prosper, and also there will be more room for other international operators to grow their business in Saudi Arabia,” he said.
When asked if the new airline would compete with big carriers in neighbouring Gulf states like Emirates and Qatar Airways, Al Jasser answered that Saudi officials were simply looking to cater to the kingdom’s need for a hub in Riyadh.
Other details of the new strategy include a “major expansion” of airport infrastructure in Jeddah and Riyadh.
In addition to that, officials have plans on building a train linking Jeddah with Riyadh and the East coast.
Al-Jasser said he expects a consortium of foreign companies to deliver a proposal later this year on delivering the “land bridge” project.
He also said the kingdom was aiming to become a global air logistics hub, handling 4.5 million tonnes of air cargo a year, up from 9,00,000 in 2019.
The country will also explore the use of futuristic technologies like Hyperloop and the new generation of Maglev.