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RIYADH: Saudi ports saw growth in car imports amid rising cargo tonnage during the first quarter of 2022, according to official statistics.

The first three months of the year saw an increase in the number of cars by 12.85% with a total of 219,488 cars, according to data released by the Saudi Ports Authority, according to MAWANI.

The number of passengers increased by 61.70% to 258,076.

Cargo throughput from the Kingdom’s ports increased by 7.18% with a total of over 74 million tonnes during the first quarter of 2022.

The number of transshipment containers increased by 5.91% with a total of 1.3 million TEUs, compared to the figures recorded in the same period last year.

Vessels increased by 0.28% with a total of 3,186 vessels.

Saudi ports, however, recorded a 1.27% drop in containers, with a total of 2.5 million, while the number of imported cattle fell by 57.75% with a total of 336,581 head of cattle.

The development of the national economy, the growth of commercial activity in the Kingdom and the formation of strategic partnerships with the world’s leading shipping companies have all contributed to strengthening the connections of Saudi ports with ports in the East and the South. West and increase throughput volumes, according to MAWANI.

MAWANI aims to strengthen the Kingdom’s position as a global logistics hub and link connecting the three continents, through initiatives such as Smart Ports, which aims to automate operations in Saudi ports.

The authority launched its Smart Ports initiative on March 20, during the Fourth Industrial Revolution event in the Kingdom, and signed agreements with Saudi Telecom Co., Ericsson, Huawei, Saudi Global Ports Co., Red Sea Gateway Terminal Co. and DP World.

Through these agreements, MAWANI aims to make Saudi ports a pioneer in applying modern technologies and improving their competitiveness regionally and internationally.

Saudi ports are entering a crucial stage of transformation into automated smart ports by adopting fourth industrial revolution technologies with their advanced applications, Omar bin Talal Hariri, chairman of the port authority, said at the launch ceremony.