Duqm City: Enhancing the future of Omani economy

Like many others, — I didn’t have a clear idea of the importance of Duqm Special Economic Zone nor its rising projects, despite previously writing about some of these projects without realising their importance to the future of Omani economy.
Then came the smart decision from the Omani Journalists Association, who arranged a visit to this up-and-coming city.
As someone once said “seeing is believing”, the untouched beaches that once reeled in traditional fishing vessels and light equipment a decade ago are now welcoming giant ships and vessels that dock on the new commercial seaport loaded with massive oil and gas pipelines, heavy machinery, transport and communications equipment, vehicles and other materials and products the city needs.
Duqm city is now a heavyweight not only at the local level, but also regionally and globally, broadcasted across daily Arab and international media channels and press and circulated on social networks and in international forums as well as industrial countries in the European, Asian, American and other continents, most recently Moscow. Such campaigns, launched by Duqm Special Economic Zone Authority (SEZAD), spread awareness among foreign investors, sovereign funds and finance companies worldwide on Duqm Special Economic Zone. Moreover, these campaigns enhance investment opportunities for foreign companies looking for stability, security, safety and ripe investment opportunities far from the turmoil and unrest rattling the region, and promote the city’s strategic location overlooking the Indian Ocean and the Arabian Sea, which can be reached by land, sea and air without passing through the Strait of Hormuz.
The solid infrastructure of Duqm Special Economic Zone, including a multipurpose seaport, a dry dock for vessel repair and maintenance, an airport with daily return flights to Muscat, a large labour complex that houses domestic and foreign company workers throughout the year, roads, electricity, water, communications and pro-investment legislations adopted by SEZAD for easy business practice, has attracted dozens of investment and service companies to set up shop in the zone. Meanwhile, SEZAD is continuing its promotional campaigns to attract more major international companies to invest in sectors that need other services, in addition to creating a “one-stop-shop” that provides all services to ensure optimal investment and minimise procedure timeline and land lease required for each activity to 3 to 5 days only.
It is interesting to note that the area allocated to Duqm Special Economic Zone is larger than that of some countries, within the region and beyond, covering 2,000 square kilometres with a coastline stretching over 90 kilometres. This makes it almost double the size of Hong Kong Island (1,108 square kilometres), two and half folds bigger than the Kingdom of Bahrain (760 square kilometres), triple the size of Singapore (697 square kilometres), seven times bigger than Malta (316 square kilometres) and bigger than other countries who are members of the United Nations.
Today, Duqm Special Economic Zone is bustling with projects, with many young Omani working in these projects alongside expatriates who voluntarily flocked from 54 countries to take part in implementing the various mega projects, such as Duqm Refinery – a Kuwaiti-Omani investment worth $5.7 billion for the production of petroleum products — the Chinese City worth $10.7 billion, the dry dock, the 18- foot deep commercial port and other projects, factories and tourist facilities under construction.
One can only imagine the size of the Sultanate’s GDP once these large-scale, strategic projects are operated, along with the employment opportunities to be created for Omanis. This will prompt many Omani and foreign companies to set up offices and establish projects in this hub where business is moving at an accelerated pace both in terms of infrastructure projects and construction of hotel projects to accommodate arrivals in this area.