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RIYADH: A new shipping service connecting Jeddah to the northern Red Sea has been launched by Saudi independent short-sea service provider Folk Maritime, indicating growth in the Kingdom’s maritime sector.    

The Saudi Ports Authority, also known as Mawani, has announced that the offering will link Jeddah Islamic Port, Yanbu Commercial Port, and NEOM Port, all in the Kingdom, to Aqaba Port in Jordan and Ain Sokhna Port in Egypt.   

The service, referred to as NRS, will operate through regular weekly trips, with a capacity of up to 1,300 standard containers.   

This move aims to support the needs of the growing market and trade in the region. Additionally, it serves to reinforce the Kingdom’s position as a global logistics hub connecting three continents, in accordance with the objectives of the National Strategy for Transport and Logistic Services.   

Moreover, the new service falls within the framework of joint cooperation between the authority and Folk Maritime.  

This collaboration aims to expand the company’s operational and logistical capabilities as a new operator in the regional market and as the first Saudi shipping line specializing in both container and feeder ships.   

Furthermore, the introduction of new shipping services to Jeddah Islamic Port contributes to reinforcing its pivotal position due to its strategically advantageous location. This allows it to serve as a crucial hub connecting Europe, Asia, and Africa.

It also confirms the port’s competitive advantage in front of exporters, importers, and shipping agents, as it is the first harbor on the Red Sea coast in the field of transit maritime trade and the transshipment of containers and goods. 

In March, Mawani and MEDLOG signed an agreement to establish an integrated logistics zone in Jeddah.  

The government agency partnered with the logistics arm of the Mediterranean Shipping Co. to develop the integrated zone, with an investment value forecasted to reach up to SR175 million ($46.6 million), according to a statement released at the time. 

The project included an integrated services site for container maintenance and inspection, aiming to provide 400 direct and indirect job opportunities and to train national staff in the logistics services sector, the statement added. 

In addition, the zone was projected to contribute to the preservation of the port environment’s safety by incorporating alternative energy sources aimed at reducing carbon emissions. 

The new undertaking was also expected to enhance the operational efficiency of the facility, bolster commercial movement, and strengthen supply chains, as pert statement released at that time.

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