By Agility Vice Chairman Tarek Sultan
As I head to Saudi’s FII conference, known as “Davos in the Desert” this week, I am reflecting on the pace of change I’ve personally witnessed in KSA.
Saudi Arabia’s progress in its journey to becoming a Tier 1 global logistics hub has been impressive. It’s clear the Kingdom is already ahead of many key targets and on course to meet many more, diversifying its economy and enhancing its global profile.
Agility has been investing in Saudi Arabia for 20 years. The scale, resources, resolve, and pace of reform we have seen in Saudi Arabia in recent years has been particularly exciting. In our view, Saudi Arabia is one of the most attractive markets for logistics investments in the world today.
Agility is investing in KSA around the following areas:
- Building essential infrastructure. We’re building a world-class logistics and distribution park near Jeddah. We’ve committed SAR 611 million ($163 million) to the 570,000 SQM project, an ultra-modern facility to go with the state-of-the-art Agility Logistics Parks already serving Saudi companies and multi-nationals in Riyadh and Dammam.
- Improving Air Travel. Our Menzies Aviation business is the world’s largest aviation services company. It has partnered with Saudi Logistics Services (SAL) to improve passenger services, cargo handling and warehousing, and airline hub management for Saudi-based airlines.
- Speeding the low-carbon transition. The Agility Logistics Park in Riyadh features the GCC’s first EDGE Advanced-certified warehouse (Excellence in Design for Greater Efficiencies), meaning it is zero-carbon ready and at least 40% more energy efficient than others in the market. Tristar also is building the Kingdom’s first LEED-certified green building for dangerous goods (DG), in Modon Dammam Second Industrial City.
- Investing in Saudi innovation. Through our venture capital arm, Agility Ventures, we have invested in Saudi Arabia’s entrepreneurs and digital innovators, such as e-commerce enablement innovator Zid and digital road freight platform Humoola. We are also helping bring transformational global health technologies to the Kingdom, through partnerships with companies like AiZTech Labs, which has developed breakthrough medical testing using selfies of the eyes taken with mobile phones and Bexa, a company pioneering innovative breast cancer screening technologies.
- Powering e-commerce. Our Shipa group of companies include Shipa Delivery, one of the Kingdom’s most advanced last-mile delivery providers, and Shipa E-Commerce, a leader in cross-border fulfillment. Shipa provides both domestic parcel delivery and cross-border shipping to and from the GCC and Saudi Arabia.
- Enhancing energy-sector efficiency and safety. Agility affiliate Tristar Group works with Aramco, SABIC, and others in the energy sector to modernize equipment, vehicles and storage facilities used in the handling of chemicals, cryogenic gases and hazardous goods — essential industrial feedstocks.
- Strengthening Saudi companies. United Stars, Tristar’s Saudi JV, earned the highest score among multi-nationals in Aramco’s In Kingdom Total Value Add (iktva) program. The program’s goal is to build a world-class supply chain while cultivating local business and retaining at least 70% of all procurement spend within the Kingdom. United Stars focuses on recruiting, coaching and developing strong Saudi teams.
When it comes to Saudi Arabia’s growth potential, Agility is an investor, partner, and supporter.