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Saudi Arabia building sustainable, diversified offshore sector

Seatrade Maritime Coverage Cloud team talks to Mohammed Al Daihani, VP - Support Services & JVs at Sedres Trading & Maritime Services Co. Ltd. in Saudi Arabia.

Mohammed talks about the company's developments since its inception in 1991, the growth of maritime services providers in the Kingdom, the country's ambition to become a regional hub of cargo movements and the opportunities for the offshore marine sector.

Can you tell us about Sedres Trading and Maritime Services Co Ltd?

Our company has been here in Saudi since its inception in 1991. We've been working in the logistic  fields in Saudi Arabia, our main focus is in agency and providing logistics and services to companies that are operating in the offshore and maritime sector. Since then, the company has diversified its services to cover as much of the demand in that field. Thankfully, after lots of developments and achieving many goals cooperating with more than eight international JV partners to cover all the specialized services in the marine sector.

We’ve seen major growth in Saudi ports. What has this meant for marine services and your company’s business?

There has been a significant change in the past two years, as the government is trying to localise and support all the services that are provided to the logistics to the port and to companies that are looking for logistics services. Demand has surged, especially in the past few years, locally, and the country has opened up for foreign companies to come into Saudi and offer their own services in Saudi without too much regulations. They are trying to ease companies who are interested in coming into Saudi, and that has elevated the level of services that is provided in the local market, and pushed everyone to advance the level of service that they're providing. And ultimately, the end users who are who get all the benefits out of out of all of this.

Could you compare and contrast your work in Saudi ports on the West and East coasts?

The east coast has been and will always be an oil and gas related operation. 90% of the services that are required in the East Coast are oil and gas related, therefore, for vessels who are working inside the oil fields permanently, or vessels that are staying regularly for more than three months, they need continuous services, from maintenance to agency to clearance.

But in the West Coast, what's happening now there is quite interesting. We are seeing offshore construction work happening in first time in Saudi in areas that are not related to oil and gas. And the Red Sea projects, which are tourism related projects, and lots of other construction work in the offshore. So, these things are very interesting, and we see quite a lot of activities that are happening on the west coast that are not related to oil and gas. We have been at Sedres looking at a few opportunities and we're very close to signing a deal to provide a service for a very long term contract in Jizan.

What could a rapid expansion in container throughput in the Kingdom mean for your business?

This has clearly been an objective set by Mawani and by the government to make Saudi basically a hub for for cargo movements, and this would mean a lot not only for our for our company, but it will impact us directly and indirectly through the movement that could take place, the land logistics that will be more activated due to this, and significantly to reduce the cost that is currently being incurred by companies who are importing by sea from a country that is outside Saudi and then by sea. But doing so will increase the efficiency and will increase the volume of business coming in and eventually reduce the cost that is being accrued by every single company that are importing materials from outside of Saudi. So this will be significant and will eventually reduce the cost of shipping.

Where do you see future opportunities for your sector?

Everywhere! I can see them in the West Coast, I can see them in the East Coast and one significant point is that we see it as a change. People used to look at the offshore industry in Saudi as oil and gas. It's not like that anymore. Now it's more sustainable. We look at the West Coast. We look at all this diversification of industry taking place, we see the logistics hubs that that are being created in a very strategic areas and Jizan in Northern Jeddah, the IMI that is taking place in eastern Saudi. So these are value added projects that will create sustainability of demand and will give everyone in the private sector or even foreign investors some confidence to come and enjoy a sustainable market.