Vinod Nair –
Muscat, Feb 20 –
The logistics sector is likely to create 2,500 jobs for Omanis this year, according to the Ministry of Transport and Communications (MoTC).
Revealing some ambitious plans for 2019 at a press meet, Dr Ahmed bin Mohammed al Futaisi, Transport and Communications Minister, said in addition to the operation of a one-stop inspection station at the Port of Salalah, jobs will be provided to 2,500 Omanis in the logistics sector.
The government will host five new pilot projects within the sailing incubator as well as support five national companies or more specialising in logistics sector
for digital transformation in their institutions.
It plans to reduce the inspection rate to 10 per cent to complement the efforts of applying “risk systems”. It plans to increase pre-clearance in ports from 14 per cent to 20 per cent.
This year, it seeks a 15 per cent growth in the size of container and 20 per cent in general cargo, apart from Omani Shipping Company operating five shipping lines connecting
ports of Oman.
The ministry will expand this year the Port of Suwaiq by adding a 160-metre berth for goods and additional handling equipment.
It will develop/operate ports of Khasab and Shinas by Marafi Company, in addition to operating the rock quay at Sohar Port and land port (Khazaen). It will also launch a hotline for port communications.
Dr Al Futaisi said, “We need to work on some internal targets in Suhar and Salalah free zones by attracting investments worth RO 500 million in foreign investment through attractive marketing.”
Abdul Rahman bin Salim al Hatmi, CEO of Oman Global Logistics Group (ASYAD), said the Omanisation rate in the group during 2016-18 rose from 74 per cent to 83 per cent.
Pointing at increase in the number of vessels and passengers through the Port of Sultan Qaboos, which saw 147 cruise ships and 490,000 passengers, he said the port is scheduled to receive another batch of passengers in April 2019.
The logistics sector grew at a rate of 7.2 per cent, creating 3,500 jobs, while the aviation sector created 981 employment opportunities.
The rehabilitation of the southern runway at the Muscat International Airport will begin this year along with the inauguration of new aircraft maintenance building, an integrated distribution center for corrosive materials at the airport, and implementation of the master plan to reuse the old Muscat airport building, he said.
The second phase of study on Musandam airport is also expected to begin this year. Air cargo village at Muscat International Airport will also be launched.
Mustafa al Hinai, CEO, Oman Aviation Group (OAG), said the 2019 plan also includes the development of long-term development initiatives such as the Cargo Village, landscaping around Muscat International Airport and other airports, and technology upgrades and special projects that will boost fisheries, agriculture and trade sectors.
Dr Al Futaisi said the first and second phases of Adam-Thamrait (dual carriageway) and Sharqiyah Expressway will be opened for traffic in 2019, besides expansion of Al Rusayl-Bidbid road and Daba-Lima- Khasab road.
The Sultanate is ranked first in the Arab world and eighth globally in the road sector.
On the telecommunications front, he said the license for the third
mobile operator would be awarded this year, with commercial operations likely to begin in the second quarter of 2020.
Forty thousand residential units in Muscat and 45,000 outside Muscat will be covered by the optic fibre network.
Vinod Nair –