The Heavy Lift Group (THLG), a global network of project forwarders, held their 61st annual group conference in Muscat at the weekend — the Amsterdam-based body’s first ever meeting in the Middle East. A total of 42 delegates travelling in from around 30 countries attended the three-day meeting, which concluded in the city on Monday.
Managed by Khimji’s House of Travel, the Heavy Lift Group International Conference was conducted by Khimji Ramdas Shipping in association with the Oman Global Logistics Group (ASYAD) and the Port of Duqm.
The international conference was tailored to connect the worldwide network of Project and Heavy Lift logistics specialists to Oman’s logistics stakeholders, notably its seaports. The event also highlighted the concrete steps being taken by the government to make Oman one among the best global logistics hubs in the world.
M C Jose, CEO, Projects and Logistics Group, Khimji Ramdas said: “Heavy lift was traditionally concentrated in the UAE because of the capabilities of vendors based there. However, in the last few years, we have managed to change the outlook of Oman based operators in handling such shipments, resulting in heavy lift movements being increasingly handled by Oman-based operators. This conference helped enhance the visibility for Oman ports and locally-based heavy lift capabilities.”
The Heavy Lift Group was founded in 1987 by a number of West European heavy lift operators in anticipation of the single European market and has since then expanded into a worldwide group having members in North & South America, Asia, Middle East, Africa, CIS and Europe.
Emre Eldener, Vice-President, Executive Committee, The Heavy Lift Group, remarked, “Over the 30 years of its existence, THLG never ventured into the Middle East as a possible venue for its Annual conference. We are glad that we gave in to the compelling arguments put forth by our members from Oman, Khimji Ramdas Shipping. The conference has been an eye opener in terms of Oman’s capabilities in handling such moves.
Furthermore, all of us have been spellbound by Oman’s natural splendour, beauty, architecture and most of all the hospitality. Most of our members, including me, are sure to come back to Oman for our next holiday, along with our family, ensuring that we take in more of Oman’s offerings. Needless to say, we believe that Oman is truly the best tourist destination in the Middle East.”
Asyad (Oman Global Logistics), through its Trade Facilitation Group, is initiating a slew of measures towards making Oman a better place to do business, said, Tapio Naula — Programme Director, Trade Facilitation, Asyad.
“Engaging with various stakeholders in the Government and Private sector, our aim is to promote Oman as a potential Global Logistics Hub. Various initiatives like AEO (Authorised Economic Operator), implementing TIR and IRU conventions, facilitating pre clearance at airports / seaports and decreasing the dwell time of shipments at the ports, are currently being worked upon. With active interest of the various government authorities and the private sector, we are seeing encouraging results from the above initiatives,” he added.
Anwar al Baluchi, Commercial Manager, Port of Duqm, stated:, “We do not let ourselves be limited by size or weight.
The Port of Duqm has been specifically designed to handle heavy and complex project cargo and has proven its expertise by successfully handling a variety of heavy and out of gauge cargo for various clients in the Oil & Gas sector. The port is designed to accept packages with a maximum of 1,700 tonnes and this has been verified by third party studies.”
The Heavy Lift Group members specialise in large-scale industrial project forwarding, crane operations, machinery installation and rigging, vessel chartering, port operations, oversized road transport, engineering, aircraft charters and barge operations.