Jeddah as a nodal interface
Saudi Arabian ports are seeking to play a more central role in trade between Europe, the Middle East and Africa. At the beginning of this year DP World signed a 30-year concession in Jeddah; CMA CGM, in turn, is fortifying its regional network.
The recent plague of locusts in East Africa is just one of the reasons motivating shipping lines to seek to establish better links from Europe to East Africa. CMA CGM is set to shine its network’s spotlight on trade lanes connecting Europe with Kenya and Somalia via the Red Sea. The Marseille-based French shipping line is organising sailings in its new Jeddex service, in which it will deploy four vessels with a nominal capacity to carry 1,100 teu each.
The link’s rotation will cover the ports of Yanbu, Jeddah (both on Saudia Arabia’s west coast), Mogadishu and Mombasa before returning to Yanbu again. Jeddah will serve as a hub for relay services to and from northern Europe as well as to both the Western and the Eastern Mediterranean. The line is set to inaugurate the service with its first sailing from the Saudi port on 15 April. Weekly sailings will ensure that exports from Mombasa reach Jeddah in around ten days. After transhipment there the goods from Kenya can reach Genoa in 21 days, Rotterdam in 25 days, Fos-sur-Mer in 27 days and Antwerp in 31 days.
Investors on Saudi coasts
Saudi Arabia’s ambition to become a global logistics centre at the crossroads of three continents received a boost in December 2019, when Saudi Arabia’s supervisory committee for the privatisation of the transport sector authorised concession contracts between the regional port operator Red Sea Gateway Terminal (RSGT) and the port operator DP World. The agreement envisages the development and operation of box terminals in the port of Jeddah and calls on DP World to invest up to USD 500 million in the modernisation of the facilities, thus enabling the handling of ultra-large container vessels (ULVCs).