Saudi Arabia’s Ambitious Dream – to Link Three Continents

Saudi Arabia, the world's largest oil producer, now aims to become a global logistics hub connecting three continents - Africa, Asia and Europe. Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman on June 30 launched the country’s new National Transport and Logistics Strategy.

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High in the Hejaz Mountains, the city of Taif, Saudi Arabia is connected to the nearby resort town of al-Hada via the iconic Highway 15, the Ta'if–al-Hada Road. (Photo by Abdullah Hatim)

Saudi Arabia, the world's largest oil producer, now aims to become a global logistics hub connecting three continents - Africa, Asia and Europe. Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman on June 30 launched the country’s new National Transport and Logistics Strategy.

The Strategy seeks to improve all transport services in support of Saudi Vision 2030, first detailed five years ago. Vision 2030 aims to raise the quality of life, brighten its economic prospects and make the Kingdom "a leading global destination." This includes improving access to healthcare and reducing annual traffic fatalities to 13.5 deaths from 28.8 deaths per 100,000.

The Strategy has four main goals:

  • to transform Saudi Arabia into a logistics hub
  • boost the quality of life across the country
  • enhance fiscal sustainability
  • improve the performance of public entities

“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," he said.

“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.”

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman

Areas covered by the National Transport and Logistics Strategy include:

  • the development of infrastructure
  • the launch of platforms and logistics zones in the Kingdom
  • the implementation of advanced operating models and systems
  • the building and enhancement of effective partnerships between the government and the private sector

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

On maritime transport, the crown prince said, “The strategy enables us to reach a capacity of more than 40 million containers annually.”

To achieve these goals will require 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,” bin Salman said.

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 National Transport and Logistics 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 three million passengers and 50 million tons of freight annually.

The crown prince mentioned his government's hope that these projects 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, the Strategy aims to encourage interconnection between the Gulf states and position the Kingdom as an influential force in the regional and international transport economies.

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, the Strategy has environmental goals - 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



Statement from Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, report of the Saudi Arabian Council of Economic and Development Affairs on the 5th anniversary of Saudi Vision 2030

By Sunny Lewis, journalist, founder of Environment News Service (ENS) at:, and expert in the field of sustainable mobility in the United States and around the Pacific Rim