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Power 40 2023: H.E. Omar Hariri, President of Saudi Ports Authority

Since assuming the position of President of the Saudi Ports Authority (Mawani) in July 2021, Omar Hariri has transformed Saudi Arabia’s ports and maritime sector through his visionary leadership and strategic acumen. With over two decades of experience in aviation, cargo, logistics, and transportation, he spearheads ambitious growth plans for Saudi ports in line with the National Transport and Logistics Strategy.

Mr. Hariri has significantly improved Saudi Arabia’s logistics capabilities and international trade relations in his current role. He initiated the Mawani project to enhance port infrastructure. These efforts have expanded the number of logistics parks in Saudi ports to 13, with significant investments from local and global industry leaders surpassing 7 billion SAR. This strategic move is projected to elevate the Kingdom’s rank from 38th to among the top 10 in the global logistics services performance index.

Under Mr Hariri’s guidance, Saudi Arabia has broadened its network to 97 routes, linking the Kingdom with 348 worldwide destinations, and boosted its transhipment market share to 32% in 2022, a significant increase from 12% just three years prior. This growth can be attributed to enhancements in organizational and legislative procedures. Notable recognitions further validate the substantial progress made during his tenure.

These include an impressive jump of eight places to the 16th spot in annual throughput in the Lloyd’s List 2023 rankings and an increase to 77.66 points in the UNCTAD’s 2023 Liner Shipping Connectivity Index (LSCI). Saudi Arabia ranked fifth as the world’s fastest in container ship handling per hour, according to the UNCTAD annual index issued by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development.

Another significant contribution from Mr Hariri is the ‘Smart Ports’ initiative launched in 2022. This initiative integrates advanced technologies, utilizing artificial intelligence and the Internet of Things, to develop infrastructure further, boost productivity, reduce carbon emissions, and enhance global competitiveness.

Before his tenure at Mawani, Mr Hariri held the CEO position for Saudia Cargo and Saudi Logistics Services (SAL). Under his astute leadership, these companies underwent an extensive modernization program, enhancing their infrastructure and systems to align with global standards. He broadened its range of activities via horizontal and vertical business integration, extending beyond the confines of airport premises. Furthermore, he spearheaded the preparation for SAL’s listing on the Saudi stock exchange – a significant milestone in the company’s growth trajectory.