Tuesday, April 16, 2024 | Shawwal 6, 1445 H
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EDITOR IN CHIEF- ABDULLAH BIN SALIM AL SHUEILI

Oman’s postal system has evolved from traditional to modern

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In the historical context of Oman's mail system, transporting mail before the establishment of post offices was quite primitive.


‘The History of Mail in Oman 1856-1985’ is a book that depicts Oman's postal system. "During the Portuguese presence, the letters were handwritten on paper, folded four times, sealed with wax, and imprinted with the royal seal. These sealed messages were then entrusted to specialised messengers who undertook the arduous task of delivering them on foot. Their journey involved crossing the Mediterranean Sea, often relying on small boats and favourable winds. This perilous expedition would take a full year for the messenger to reach the intended recipient, whether in Hormuz or Muscat, and an additional year to return with a response.”


With the discovery of the sea route to India, the journey from Portugal to India, Hormuz, and Muscat became somewhat more manageable. Letter carriers could now use anchorages on their voyages, reducing the travel time to six months. Additionally, some correspondents chose to transmit private messages orally to prevent theft during transit.


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The evolution of Oman's postal system can be divided into four key stages. The first was the Indian supervision stage (pre-1864): The first postal service in Oman operated under the supervision of the Indian government, with services managed from the Bombay area. During this period, Indian stamps featuring British kings were used.


The second state was ‘Pakistani supervision’ following India's independence from Britain and the subsequent creation of Pakistan. Then Pakistan took over the supervision of Oman's mail services.


The third stage was ‘British supervision’ (April 1, 1948 - April 29, 1966). The British administration assumed responsibility for supervising postal services in Oman and across all Arab Gulf countries during this period.


The fourth stage was ‘Postal independence from foreign supervision (April 30, 1966). During this stage, Oman gained control of its postal services on April 30, 1966. From this date, Omani citizens managed the postal service, and the first regular Omani stamps were issued, featuring depictions of the port of Muscat, prominent castles, and the state emblem. This marked the era of "Muscat and Oman" stamps.


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On August 9, 1970, His Majesty Sultan Qaboos announced the change of the country's name from "Muscat and Oman" to the "Sultanate of Oman." On January 16, 1971, the first collection of stamps bearing this new name was introduced.


Today, Oman Post boasts 86 branches with over 550 employees and offers approximately 20 different services, including international transactions with more than 100 countries. The country has embraced digitisation and advanced technologies, such as the innovative logistics services platform, to enhance the efficiency and quality of its postal services, aligning with the changing demands of the modern world.


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