Dammam Port Expansion Strengthens India-Saudi Gulf Trade Relations

Some time back, the Singapore-operated Bengal Tiger Line added Saudi Arabia’s Dammam Port, also known as the King Abdulaziz Port, to the India- Saudi-Iraq service route. According to latest reports, it will now be part of the India Gulf Express Freight Service. It will be well connected with India’s Nhava Sheva, Mundra, and Mangalore ports and will boost trade in the region. T

The Dammam Port handles a bulk of oil trade, making it especially critical and the extension to Dammam Port will yield substantial benefits to Bangladesh and Sri Lanka as well. This move complements the establishment of the Bangladesh-India-Sri Lanka-Gulf corridor through the new Bangladesh India Gulf Express (BIGEX) service earlier this year.

Additionally, the port’s integration into the Mediterranean Shipping Company’s (MSC) shipping service will foster closer ties between Saudi and India, with stops also planned at Jeddah Islamic Port. Significant ports like Jabel Ali, Mundra, Nhava Sheva, and Djibouti will also be included in this route, and so will be many ports in Italy, Spain and Malta.

The inaugural voyage is scheduled for December, heralding a new era of enhanced trade connectivity in the region. This development is in line with the evolving dynamics of India’s relations with the Gulf region, exemplified by the recent state visit of Saudi Crown Prince and Prime Minister Mohammed bin Salman to India.

Plans for a track 1.5 dialogue between India, Saudi Arabia, and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries are underway, reflecting the growing importance of these strategic partnerships. The GCC region, home to 9 million Indians, holds immense potential for economic collaboration. Efforts to negotiate a free trade agreement between India and the GCC are also underway

This integration of ports and the emphasis on leveraging the blue economy are aligned with India’s port-led development model, signaling a positive trajectory for regional cooperation and economic growth.