Abdullah Aldubaikhi, CEO, Bahri: Interview

Abdullah Aldubaikhi, CEO, Bahri

Interview: Abdullah Aldubaikhi

To what extent is the maritime shipping sector able to cope with rising demand?

ABDULLAH ALDUBAIKHI: The maritime shipping sector saw some capacity management activity in the first half of 2018 in an effort to ease excess cargo in the market. As a result, we have seen an improved supply-demand balance. However, the ongoing recovery of the global economy and the growth of emerging and developing economies are expected to drive further momentum in domestic and international trade, which will lead to a significant shipping capacity crunch in the coming years, particularly in the Middle East market. Similarly, rising global demand for energy will lead to an increased supply of very large crude carriers.

Commodity prices also drive global demand for crude oil. Therefore, all producing countries or companies are subject to price volatility, both on the upside and the downside, which eventually impacts shipping activities.

In what ways can new technologies improve efficiency in maritime transportation?

ALDUBAIKHI: New technologies such as big data, analytics, artificial intelligence and internet of things continue to transform the maritime logistics and transportation industry. It is now possible to uncover actionable insights from millions of data points, increase efficiency in operations by speeding up decision-making and ensure the optimum utilisation of resources.

Applications and devices powered by these technologies can reduce costs by effectively managing resources, tracking assets and goods in real time, and improving routes by identifying redundancies and risks beforehand. These innovative technologies will also benefit customers by cutting costs and delivery time.

How can fleet management be optimised to maximise voyage earnings?

ALDUBAIKHI: It is critical to optimise scheduling through voyage management, whether for spot cargo or contractual cargo. Bahri opts for a balanced approach to avoid the challenges presented by high exposure and over-reliance on contracted volumes or spot business. Fleet or voyage operations are a pivotal function within shipping, handled by skilled professionals with seagoing and cargo operations experience. One key performance indicator is the reduction of idle time, which all shipping companies strive for. This is reliant on optimum voyage management and scheduling.

How can logistics players benefit from the country’s intermodal transport options?

ALDUBAIKHI: Saudi Arabia is uniquely positioned as a logistics gateway linking Africa, Asia and Europe. The Kingdom has focused on initiatives aimed at capitalising on this geographic advantage as part of its economic diversification efforts. Reinforcing the country’s leadership position in the regional logistics and transportation sector has been identified as a key objective of Saudi Vision 2030. As a result, we have seen an array of reforms taking shape in the country, including the restructuring of regulations, market liberalisation and the participation of the private sector. The Kingdom has a vast network of roads and railways to take advantage of, connecting its various seaports to both domestic and international markets. New developments, such as the Saudi Landbridge project to link the east and west coasts of the Kingdom, and two railway lines, which will connect with the GCC countries in the east and link Yanbu and Jeddah in the west, are aimed at strengthening the existing infrastructure. With these prospects, intermodal freight transport is poised for a major leap in the coming years.

With an enhanced technical and regulatory infrastructure, the country can build on its integrated transport system to achieve its maritime goals. Saudi Arabia will also benefit from embracing and promoting digital technologies across all aspects of operations to improve the quality, safety and efficiency of the sector.

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Abdullah Aldubaikhi

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The Report: Saudi Arabia 2019

Transport chapter from The Report: Saudi Arabia 2019

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