3 new ferries to join NFC fleet

KABEER YOUSUF –
MUSCAT, JAN 16 –
Three new ferries will join the existing fleet of National Ferries Company (NFC), replacing the old ones.
As the new vessels are fuel-efficient, the consumption is expected go down 50 per cent on the northern lines. “The maintenance costs will drop 70 per cent compared with the existing vessels,” said Mehdi al Abduwani, CEO of NFC.
“Additionally, we will launch our online booking system,” he said.
NFC will launch both online booking and mobile app this year, which is expected to enhance customer experience.
NFC clocked a 94 per cent customer satisfaction in 2018, while its on-time departure performance improved to 95.87 per cent.
NFC will be able to transport vehicles from Lima to Khasab and Dibba by middle of this year, thanks to the construction of vehicular ramp at Lima port.
Currently, ferries ply between Hasik and Halaniyat for both passengers and cargo, Shanna-Masirah, Shinas-Khasab, Shinas-Dibba, Dibba-Lima, Shinas-Lima, Khasab-Lima and Khasab-Dibba, totalling 74 trips a week. In 2018, NFC ferried 243,000 passengers on some 3,468 trips. Shannah-Masirah is one of the high-volume sectors carrying 500,000 passengers and 130,000 vehicles between the island and the mainland every year.
“NFC has achieved a 40 per cent market share in passenger movement and 43 per cent in vehicle movement on Shannah-Masirah route in less than four years of launching the line with two vessels,” said Al Abduwani.
The local landing crafts operators — about 12 vessels — account for rest of the traffic.
NFC has earned a reputation through reliable service across northern and central lines. Northern routes clocked service reliability of 97.47 per cent and Shannah-Masirah line at 94.92 per cent.