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Sailing ahead: P&O's Martin Helweg charts Saudi Arabia's maritime future

Martin Helweg, CEO of P&O Maritime Logistics
Martin Helweg, CEO of P&O Maritime Logistics gives insights into the unfolding maritime opportunities in Saudi Arabia and discusses his participation in the upcoming Saudi Maritime Congress.

Seatrade Maritime: What do you see as the most significant opportunities in the maritime sector of the KSA?
Martin Helweg: The maritime sector in KSA presents a range of opportunities across the board. The integration of maritime infrastructure with energy and trade flows is a key driver. Notably, the foremost opportunity lies in Saudi Arabia's proactive commitment to nurturing a thriving maritime sector. Events like the Saudi Maritime Congress serve as vital platforms for stakeholders to collectively shape the sector's future trajectory, making alignment crucial.

SM: What are some of the priorities for your business in the next 5 years?

MH: Over the years, our success in Saudi Arabia and beyond has been underpinned by a steadfast commitment to building strong local content. Looking ahead, our priority is to maintain this long-term perspective, entailing both short-term investments and continuous value add. As the Kingdom's maritime sector grows, the emphasis on contributing to its success becomes more pronounced, where increased local content will play a pivotal role. 

SM: Where do you see the KSA's maritime sector in 5 years? 
MH: We anticipate a substantially larger and well-established sector five years from now. Ideally, we’d like to witness not only Saudi Arabia but also the broader Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) region rise as global leaders in maritime excellence. This ambitious vision requires heightened collaboration among diverse stakeholders, which includes governmental bodies and private enterprises alike.  
SM: What are some of the biggest areas of collaboration between the KSA and the wider maritime industry?

MH: Saudi Arabia is an appealing investment destination – this has already been acknowledged globally. Forging impactful collaboration lies in nurturing a strong shipping sector, particularly within the GCC, by bolstering local content, refining flag regulations, and harmonising Cabotage rules. Through the collective expertise of the wider maritime community, Saudi Arabia can create a resilient growth platform spanning not just the country but the entire global maritime ecosystem.

SM: You are on the Maritime Logistics Forum panel at Saudi Maritime Congress. Why did you decide to be part of the event? 
MH: The Saudi Maritime Congress stems from recognising the immense potential of the rapidly expanding Saudi market. As Saudi Arabia embarks on a journey of economic diversification and expansion, the maritime sector assumes a pivotal role in facilitating energy and trade. This strategic focus on building and fostering a strong shipping community aligns with our core values as a shipping company – to contribute towards a countries’ prosperity through the development of resilient trade and energy infrastructure. With our longstanding presence in Saudi Arabia, we are excited to continue to aid in its growth trajectory. 

Saudi Maritime Congress will take place from 20 to 21 September 2023 in Dammam, KSA.

Martin Helweg will be joining other panellists for the 'Maritime Logistics Forum – Infrastructure Development, Trade & Regulations' panel session on Day 1 of the event.

TAGS: Logistics