Saudi Arabia at forefront of regional food logistics

Saudi Gazette

Gulfood Manufacturing represents a specialist platform to promote bespoke logistics solutions.
Gulfood Manufacturing represents a specialist platform to promote bespoke logistics solutions.

JEDDAH – The GCC region’s position as a major logistics hub for global food industry is bolstered by significant re-export trade as the value of its food imports is forecast to reach 53.1 billion by 2020, said the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) recently.

The World Bank also forecast that the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region’s food market could exceed $1 trillion by 2030 as demand grows.

For one, the Saudi logistics industry, which is anticipated to reach SR67.5 billion ($18 billion) by 2015, has food as its core component, according to a Market Insight Report by Saudi Logitrans. With an ambitious target to become the world’s leading global transport and logistics hub by 2020, the Kingdom imports around 70 percent of its food requirements from 160 countries in around half a million annual consignments, according to the Saudi Food and Drug Authority (SFDA).

And consistent with the food sustainability program of the Saudi government, Almarai, the largest integrated dairy foods company in the Middle East, has invested in the development of infrastructure and logistics operations with Ports Development Company (PDC) at King Abdullah Economic City in Rabigh. The agreement will see Almarai purchase part of the port to build grain silos to aid in the import of cattle and poultry feed from abroad.

According to Alpen Capital’s GCC Food Industry Report (May, 2013), UAE investment in food processing and packaging machinery exceeded AED1 billion for the first time in 2012, from AED922 million ($258.4 million) in 2011.

Against this backdrop, the world’s largest annual food and hospitality show, Gulfood Manufacturing is primed to become the Middle East’s biggest-ever trade show launch when it debuts on Nov. 9-11, 2014 at Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC).

With more than 90 percent of the 42,000m² show already sold, Gulfood will debut amid wholesale growth in the region’s processing, packaging and manufacturing sectors.

Coupled with increasing food consumption rates, Gulfood Manufacturing is top of the agenda for local, regional and international industry players looking to expand across the Middle East, Africa and South Asia (MEASA).

For a wide array of Saudi companies, Gulfood Manufacturing represents a specialist platform to promote bespoke logistics solutions to an array of regional and international food producers and suppliers.

“At present, 80 percent of our products are used by the F&B industry and Gulfood Manufacturing provides us with a unique opportunity to expand our innovative products to more companies in the food logistics sector across the Middle East, East Asia and parts of Africa,” said Engineer Shadi Alziq, Project Manager, RePall – a leading manufacturer and international supplier of plastic pallets.

“The Kingdom’s burgeoning F&B sector has increased the demand for safe and efficient material handling and logistics systems and our new, steel-enforced, hygienic plastic pallet product has been purposely designed for food companies.”

With regional food demand set to grow,  Gulfood Manufacturing will highlight current trends and solutions for effective implementation across the multi-sector sphere.

Food Logistics Middle East, a specialized show within Gulfood Manufacturing, will bring together global industry experts to tackle challenges such as connectivity, demand and supply, transportation, storage, commercial vehicles, facilitators and service providers, I.T. and technology, warehousing, materials handling and logistics suppliers and operators.

“Even in the recession-resistant food industry, the challenge of hyper-efficient and cost-effective logistics affects every component of the supply chain – from production to consumption,” said Trixie LohMirmand, Senior Vice President, Exhibitions & Events Management, DWTC.

“Saudi Arabia is at the forefront of regional food logistics and with growing demand set to add further pressure to the global food logistics infrastructure, Gulfood Manufacturing will provide a dedicated platform for manufacturers, suppliers and service providers from across the region and beyond to improve international connectivity, handling and supply chains.”

Gulfood Manufacturing will feature more than 1,000 global food manufacturers, suppliers and service providers, including a world-class lineup of international brands including IFFCO, Cargill Europe BVBA, Markel Bakery Group, Multivac, TNA Packing Solutions, Ishida Europe Ltd., Döhler Middle East and CSM Deutschland GmbH. The industry heavyweights will participate in themed sectors or within more than 24 national pavilions including Egypt, Turkey, Jordan, Lebanon, Iran, Switzerland, Taiwan, China, Thailand, India, Italy, Austria, France, the US, and Germany – also the show’s Official Country Partner.

In addition to the core exhibitions, Gulfood Manufacturing will host a Food Safety Conference highlighting issues related to regional food safety. A host of internationally-acclaimed speakers and key industry figures will be confirmed in coming weeks. — SG