When HRH Prince Mohammed bin Salman ignited the green light for a manufacturing and logistics hub to be built on the Red Sea, he claimed it would generate untold benefits for the Saudi economy and the region in general. But even the shallowest of dives into the intricacies of the city Oxagon in Saudi’s NEOM reveals this to be not quite true.
Yes, the country and region will benefit, but Oxagon will also create a domino effect of heightened eco-awareness and operational efficiency around the world that will revolutionize logistics in as profound way that the en masse application of the supply chain did, a hundred years ago.
Oxagon really is the business end of the Saudi giga project, NEOM. Admittedly, the mind-boggling 100+ kilometer-long city called The Line has been getting all the press, particularly for its utopia and reality spin on the future. But Oxagon will be the beating commercial heart of this ‘giant leap’, as many are calling NEOM. Because once you get away from the buzzwords and jargon that invariably accompany such a project, like sustainability, circular economies, cognitive cities etc., all of which reflect only on the functioning aspects of Oxagon itself, you can see a bigger picture.
The social impact of advanced logistics by Oxagon
Because of Oxagon, families on the other side of the world will have access to goods and services that were previously beyond their reach. New logistics practices created by Oxagon and adapted throughout the world will have dropped the prices (and sped up the delivery) of electronics, automobiles, building materials, farming equipment, healthcare technology – the list is limitless. Entire previously disadvantaged communities will be uplifted and upgraded to humancentric infrastructures. Ideological and political differences will play second fiddle to personal growth and the democratization of opportunity. Admittedly, this is just Economics 101. But when good news arrives which will have such a weighty impact on society, we need to unpack it, and celebrate it.
And you thought logistics was just the act of getting stuff from one place to another!
So let’s start unpacking.
A new model for global manufacturing and distribution
Oxagon is located on the trade route which runs through the Suez Canal. 13% of global trade moves through the Suez Canal.
Imagine a number of manufacturing and logistics hubs around the world using the Oxagon blueprint for clean energy, carbon neutral, waste management and IoT practices, in locations primarily used or created because they ease countless logistical burdens.
13% of global trade moves through the Suez Canal.
The Panama Canal, for example. Let’s round that up to another 6.5% of global trade. Then there’s the English Channel, where 400+ freight ships pass through every 24 hours. The St. Lawrence Seaway, the freight ‘bridge’ between Canada and the U.S., currently handling 50 million tonnes of cargo a year. And the Straits of Malacca, which boasts a whopping 25% of all global trade.
Over 400 freight ships pass the English Channel every 24 hours.
All told, that’s probably north of 70% of all global trade. All of which promising a less expensive and immeasurably quicker journey from raw materials to marketplace. Employing the most advanced thinking in sustainability, too. Short of the arrival of teleportation, this is the most fundamental shift we’ll ever witness in logistics.
The world is shifting up a gear
As a marker laid down in the pursuit of realizing both the UN Sustainable Development Goals and Saudi’s own version of Vision 2030 this is empirical evidence of
a world determined to progress. Perhaps we’ll no longer think of Oxagon as a place, but rather as the Second Logistics Revolution, after the first – the supply chain. Heck, if we can call our new hybrid of physical and digital lives the Fourth Industrial Revolution, then the major advances in manufacturing and logistics promised by Oxagon are worthy of the same stature.