Saudi Arabia bolsters first-ever Global Supply Chain Forum

11 April 2024

Set for 21 to 24 May, the forum will help forge more sustainable and resilient global production and distribution networks facing unprecedented challenges.

A ship in the port of Jeddah in Suadi Arabia
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© UNCTAD/Jan Hoffmann | A container ship in the port of Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.

  • Geopolitical tensions and climate change are putting unprecedented strain on global supply chains.

  • The first-ever Global Supply Chain Forum will craft solutions for greener, more efficient and resilient global production and distribution networks.

  • The Saudi Ports Authority (MAWANI) and UNCTAD have a longstanding partnership on shipping connectivity and maritime transport and logistics.

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, through its ports authority, has contributed funds to bolster the first-ever Global Supply Chain Forum, organized by UN Trade and Development (UNCTAD) and Barbados.

Set for 21 to 24 May in Bridgetown, the forum will unite government officials, business leaders and experts from around the world to tackle global logistics challenges magnified by the COVID-19 pandemic, geopolitical shifts, climate change and rising maritime freight rates.

“The Saudi Ports Authority, MAWANI, reaffirms its dedication to boosting global supply chain resilience and promoting international cooperation,” the port authority said in a statement.

Global supply chains, vital for producing and distributing goods ranging from cars to clothes, foods and medicines, are under unprecedented strain.

Attacks on commercial vessels in the Red Sea, severely disrupting Suez Canal shipping, along with turmoil in the Black Sea from the war in Ukraine, and the impact of drought-induced water level reductions in the Panama Canal have given rise to a complex crisis affecting key trade routes.

A biennial global forum to bolster supply chains

The inaugural Global Supply Chain Forum will drive innovative solutions for building greener and more efficient and resilient global production and distribution networks.

The biennial event aims to transform trade opportunities into shared development gains, especially for vulnerable economies, including least developed countries, landlocked developing countries and small island developing states.

A longstanding partnership

UNCTAD and MAWANI have a longstanding partnership that includes organizing for maritime industry professionals joint workshops on liner connectivity, technical visits to the port of Jeddah, and seminars on the key findings of UN Trade and Development's Review of Maritime Transport.

The ports authority said its partnership with UN Trade and Development “has been crucial in driving forward discussions on shipping connectivity, maritime transport and logistics challenges”.