Dr Abdullah Alahmari

The Saudi Maritime Congress (SMC) 2023 is expected to unveil an inspiring vision for the future of both the Saudi Arabian oilfield and maritime service markets. 
Forecasts indicate a combined market value of $12.08 billion in 2023, setting the stage for an impressive surge with projections soaring to a remarkable $19.68 billion by 2030. This extraordinary growth is fuelled by a striking compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 7.22%.
Taking place from September 20 to 21, 2023 in Dammam, the congress serves as a platform for this forward-looking narrative, emphasising the pivotal role of substantial investments in cutting-edge technologies and transformative digital initiatives, guiding both industries towards this ambitious destination. 
Keynote session
Kicking off this influential event is the keynote session on Day One, featuring Dr Abdullah Alahmari, President & CEO at IMI, in a 40-minute discussion moderated by Eithne Treanor, MD of E.Treanor Media.
Reinforcing the kingdom’s growth  
Chris Morley, Group Event Director of Seatrade Maritime, the organiser of this gathering, emphasises the pivotal role of improved Saudi maritime logistics in boosting port revenues. As the kingdom expands its inland logistics hubs and enhances rail connectivity, the aim is to quadruple the annual container throughput to a staggering 40 million TEU by 2030. 
This bold vision aligns seamlessly with Saudi Arabia's Vision 2030, manifesting through colossal projects like the $500 billion Neom initiative and the groundbreaking Oxagon port, set to become the world's largest floating structure.
Additionally, as the shipbuilding sector rapidly grows, Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund (PIF) is preparing to establish a new body to oversee shipbuilding and ship maintenance and repair services, further diversifying the economy and fostering new industrial sectors.
The second keynote session maintains a spotlight on Saudi Arabia and its strategic alignment with the global maritime market. Joanna Crisan, programming the session, underscores Saudi Arabia's commitment to maritime trade expansion, the development of new economic cities, and the digitalisation of vessel operations. 
In 2021, Saudi Arabia demonstrated the highest regional progress in the Maritime Connectivity Index and ranks 20th globally in the maritime transport industry. Over the past decade, its maritime sector has doubled, with 53,000 ships registered in 150+ countries, collectively carrying a staggering 11 billion tonnes of cargo annually.
Knowledge exchange and networking
To forge vital connections within the international maritime community, industry experts will share their insights on trade, regulations, and opportunities for collaboration with Saudi Arabia. Distinguished panelists include Eng Hessa Ahmed Hamdan Almalek, Advisor to the Minister for Maritime Transport Affairs at The UAE Ministry of Energy and Infrastructure; Erik Jensby, Head of Business Development and Membership at BIMCO; Stuart Neil, Director of Strategy & Communications at ICS; Khurram Ali, Partner ME at Ince & Co; and Paul Holthus, Founding President and CEO of World Ocean Council.
SMC 2023 returns for its two-day exhibition and conference at Dhahran Expo, Dammam, KSA. Following the resounding success of the 2022 event, which attracted 3,757 international visitors, key maritime executives, leading marine equipment and service providers, and influential figures shaping the KSA maritime landscape will convene once more.
The event's exhibition will feature prominent companies such as MAWANI, IMI, Transport Global Authority, Saudi Global Ports Co, Grandweld, Naghi Marine Company, DP World Middle East, ASRY and more.-- TradeArabia News Service