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Maersk to operate cold storage facility in King Abdulaziz Port

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Mawani says the deal is expected to drive up food trade volumes through the Dammam port

Denmark-based AP Moller-Maersk (Maersk) has signed an agreement with Refad Real Estate to operate a new cold storage facility at King Abdulaziz Port in Dammam, Saudi Arabia, the company said in a statement.

Maersk will begin operations at the facility in March 2023, it added.

The deal is expected to strengthen the Kingdom’s food security and significantly drive up its food trade volumes through the Arabian Gulf port, state-owned SPA news agency reported, citing Saudi Ports Authority (Mawani).

The cold storage occupies an area of 30,000 sq m with an annual capacity to hold 168,000 pallets of fruit and vegetables, frozen goods, processed foods, and dairy products.

The facility will source around 15 percent of its energy needs through 600 KW solar panels to reduce carbon emissions. An on-site water treatment installation will also eliminate the need to carry water via trucks to external water treatment plants, reducing the associated carbon footprint by up to 87,600 km annually. 

In addition, electric vehicles will be used for transportation between the cold stores and King Abdulaziz Port.

Constrained by arid soils, scarce water resources and searing temperatures, the Gulf has historically imported around 90 percent of its food. 

However, concerns about the impact of climate change on agriculture – coupled with the pandemic-induced supply chain crisis and the war in Ukraine – have forced governments to rethink their food security strategies.

In the 2022 Food Security Index – which ranked countries according to access to food, crisis risks and resilience of the economy – the UAE was the top-placed Arab country at 26th. Qatar was 29th, Bahrain 30th, Oman 41st, Saudi Arabia 44th and Kuwait 47th.

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