The global economy will increase more than double in the next few years, which requires us to develop all the sectors, most importantly, the logistics sector.
Before, the logistics sector was not seen as important although it played a significant role in import, export and recycling processes and large industries.
The government of Oman, through the Ministry of Transport and Communications and according to future strategic plans, prepared infrastructure and economic zones, roads, ports, airports, border posts and associated services, including shipping, transport and warehouses.
Oman made more efforts to lay the groundwork and link the country with industrial nations with modern network of roads and railways for transporting containers and goods along with communication networks and other projects.
These developments are aimed at making logistics sector the second biggest source of GDP and Oman as one of the top logistics hubs by 2040, considering Oman’s logistics locations in Duqm, Suhar, Salalah and Muscat with a high quality infrastructure, competitiveness and qualified manpower.
These plans cannot be achieved without focusing on the national manpower and the challenges it faces, including the difficult economic conditions surrounding the region, poor wages, dependence on cheap labour, long hours of work, poor practical experience and expatriate labour force controlling certain companies in logistics, etc.
What is on the ground is completely different from our ambitions and expectations.
There is a huge gap between the specialised educational academic sector in logistics, transport and the supply chain and the business industry.
This gap is widening every day, leaving higher education outcomes without a clear vision.
The Tanfeedh programme promises that the logistics sector will provide more than 5,000 jobs in the next phase.
However, this plan lacks clarity in terms of number of jobs offered, quality, job description, location, etc and whether such jobs can assure longer job security for the Omani labour market.
If we want to proceed on the right track, we need to pave the way for higher education outcomes and extend full support to the academic institutions that are seeking to train and qualify the national manpower in logistics, supply chain, contract, procurement, warehousing, land and sea transport, ground operations for ports, airports and land borders and customs clearance, etc.
This cannot be achieved without linking professional academic institutions with the labour market, including companies, establishments, logistics business, transport and supply chain in the public and private sectors and other military logistics functions.
These organisations should provide practical in-house training for a definite time as “internship”, during which academics can obtain a certificate of experience that qualify them to work in the same field/function as desired.
This will eventually encourage employers and companies to employ academics willingly without the effort of training and costs, except for those who need to keep pace with their career development.
An important role is expected from Oman Global Logistics Group, the government holding company, which has under its umbrella all the companies in logistics and covers ports, free zones, air, land and sea transport companies.
Clear partnership should be formed.
Its implementation should be verified with stakeholders involved with the sector and link the logistics companies with academic institutes to consolidate common potentials and resources and values.
If we want to focus more on the sector and find jobs for local manpower and higher education outcomes, we should activate the role of the Public Authority of Manpower Register by forming the ‘Logistics and Supply Chain Committee’ with members from the Ministry of Manpower, Oman Global Logistics Group, academic institutions specialised in logistics, Omanisation committees, Royal Oman Police and the armed forces, etc.
The committee shall meet regularly to overcome difficulties facing the education outcomes, update the data and link it to the labour market organisations for swift and efficient employment.