Despite the pandemic, the travel and tourism sector remains a vital one for the Middle East and North Africa (MENA). While tourism has always been important for the U.A.E., Egypt, and Jordan, now other GCC countries, including Saudi Arabia and Oman, are looking to attract more visitors. The region’s airlines are an important enabler of this industry, connecting the region to the world.
Logistics companies are also key enablers, moving goods and services across the globe.
Many MENA countries are developing their ports infrastructure as they compete for a bigger market share of global trade.
While the U.A.E. is the market leader, Oman, Saudi Arabia, and Egypt have also announced large investments in this sector.
The growth of e-commerce is also transforming the logistics industry, increasing the importance of sectors like warehousing and last-mile delivery.
Date of establishment: 1972
DP World is one of the largest operators of ports and cargo terminals in the world. Over 56,000 people work for the company across 181 operations globally.
It recorded revenues of $4.9 billion in the six months to June 30, 2021—a 21.3% increase from the same period last year.
In 2020, DP World signed a contract with the government of Senegal to build a port at Ndayane with an investment of $1.1 billion. In July 2021, it acquired Syncreon, which is located across 91 sites in 19 countries, for an enterprise value of $1.2 billion.
Suez Canal Authority (SCA)
The Suez Canal is considered to be the shortest link between the east and the west due to its unique geographic location connecting the Mediterranean Sea to the Red Sea through Egypt.
About 12% of the world’s trade passes through the 120-mile man-made waterway each year. It is one of the most important sources of income for Egypt.
The SCA recorded revenues of $3 billion in the first six months of 2021, an increase of 8.6% compared with $2.7 billion in the same period of 2020. During the first half of 2021, 9,763 vessels navigated through the waterway.
Saudi Ports Authority (Mawani)
Date of establishment: 1976
Country: Saudi Arabia
Mawani has a network of six commercial ports and three industrial ports with 214 platforms. Jeddah Islamic Port is the largest port in Saudi Arabia in terms of volume and cargo handling capacity.
It covers an area of 12.5 square kms and handles more than 65% of all cargo imported through Saudi ports.
In August 2021, Mawani announced a partnership with the private sector to develop and operate multi-purpose terminals in eight Saudi ports.
Date of establishment: 2016
The Asyad Group is a $4 billion enterprise backed by $20 billion in government infrastructure spending. It is comprised of three deep ports and three free zones, supported by Oman’s five airports.
Asyad operates one of the largest drydocks in the region with a diversified fleet of 60 vessels. Asyad is a driving force behind Oman’s national logistics strategy, which prioritizes logistics as a major part of its economic future.
Oman hopes the sector can contribute roughly $36 billion to GDP by 2040, up from $2.6 billion in 2016, while also creating 300,000 jobs.
Agility has 16,000 employees working across more than 40 countries. Its businesses span supply chains, emerging markets trade, industrial and commercial real estate, and tech and ventures investing.
In January 2021, it invested around $35 million into the IPO of SPAC Queen’s Gambit Growth Capital.
In April 2021, Agility agreed to sell its logistics business, Global Integrated Logistics, to Danish logistics major DSV Panalpina for $4.1 billion in an all-share deal. In the first half of 2021, Agility recorded revenues of $732.5 million.
Nakilat operates the world’s largest liquefied natural gas shipping fleet, comprising 74 vessels.
It also operates the Erhama Bin Jaber Al Jalahma Shipyard in Ras Laffan Industrial City, providing ship repair and offshore fabrication services via joint ventures.
Nakilat recorded revenues of $553.4 million in the first half of 2021. As of September 14, 2021, Nakilat’s market capitalization was $4.7 billion.
National Shipping Company of Saudi Arabia (Bahri)
Bahri’s operations span five business units: oil, chemicals, logistics, dry bulk, and ship management. It is one of the biggest shipping conglomerates in the world, with a fleet of at least 89 vessels.
Saudi’s Public Investment Fund and Saudi Aramco are major shareholders in the company, with 22.5% and 20% ownership, respectively.
Bahri recorded revenues of $662.3 million in the first half of 2021. It signed an agreement in 2020 to establish the National Grain Company, a joint venture with the Saudi Agricultural and Livestock Investment Company. As of September 14, 2021, Bahri was valued at $4 billion.
Qatar Navigation (Milaha)
Date of establishment: 1957
Milaha has five business units: maritime and logistics, offshore marine, gas and petrochem, marine and technical services, and capital. The company recorded revenues of $377 million in the first half of 2021.
The company was established in 1957 as the first shipping agent in Qatar. Milaha also owns 36.25% of Nakilat and 49% of Qterminals, which manages operations at Hamad Port.
Date of establishment: 1982
Aramex has more than 600 offices in 65 countries delivering logistics services and transportation, making it among the largest courier companies in the Middle East.
The company had revenues of $815.4 million in H1 2021 and $31 million in profit. The company was founded by entrepreneur Fadi Ghandour who later diluted his stake in the company. In September 2020, Alpha Oryx Limited, a company related to the Abu Dhabi Developmental Holding Company, acquired 22.2% of the company, making it the largest shareholder.
Gulf Warehousing Company (GWC)
Date of establishment: 2004
GWC is the official host national logistics provider for World Cup 2022, which will be held in Qatar. With 19 logistics centers spread across strategic locations in the country, it will provide a range of services and manage access to venues, stadiums, fan festivals, fan zones, and IBCs.
The company recorded total revenues of $171.3 million as of H1 2021. The company was valued at over $800 million as of September 14, 2021.