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Muscat launches new box strategy under Oman Logistics Centre

Muscat launches new box strategy under Oman Logistics Centre
Oman’s Ministry of Transport and Communications (MOTC) has launched a new logistics strategy under a body to be known as the Oman Logistics Centre, to coordinate national logistics development.

A MOTC press release said that in 2013, the Supreme Council for Planning had ordered a review, chaired by the Minister of Transport, Ahmed Al-Futaisi, and assisted by government and private-sector executives, as well as academia, to develop a nationwide logistics strategy to 2040.

Teething troubles encountered during the transfer of containers from Muscat Container Terminal to Oman International Container Terminal in Sohar late last year threw Oman’s logistics problems into relief, leading MOTC to seek a top-down solution to logistics bottlenecks. Muscat is now cruise-only.

Speaking at Global Liner Shipping Dubai last week, Sohar Industrial Port Company ceo Andre Toet said the move to Sohar from Muscat had posed problems partly because many in the industry did not believe that the government would follow through on its promise to execute the move last August.

Oman’s existing port infrastructure at Sohar, Salalah and Duqm is believed to be sufficient to meet the ministry’s ambitions to rationalise cargo movement around the country. The government is keen to ensure that special interest cargo development is not duplicated at the three ports.

Sohar is now northern Oman’s main gateway for box and general cargo, while Salalah is a major regional transhipment hub second only to the UAE’s Jebel Ali. Duqm is still on the drawing board, but a major ship repair centre has opened and downstream oil and petrochemicals facilities will feature.

The MOTC plan envisages logistics as a core economic driver of the economy and will encourage the private sector to invest in and develop logistics in Oman.

“The Sultanate of Oman is uniquely positioned to play an important and leading role in logistics in the Indian Ocean and as a gateway to the Arabian Gulf,” the MOTC said.

Investment in Oman Rail, and ongoing development of airports and roads is set to open up new opportunities in logistics and cargo movement from Oman to the rest of the GCC.