By Vinod Nair — MUSCAT: Feb. 12 – The Ministry of Transport and Communications on Sunday unveiled its plans for the current year and covered all sectors under its preview — ports, aviation, communications, logistics and land and public transport. Key highlights included the new communications act, which will be introduced this year. On the crucial Muscat International Airport project, Dr Mohammed bin Nasser bin Ali al Zaabi, CEO, Public Authority for Civil Aviation (PACA) said operations should start by the year-end.
Speaking to the Observer, he said the work on almost all packages of the airport project is in its final stages.
He said work on the terminal building is around 96 per cent complete and it should be ready hopefully in the next three months.
The project will then be handed over to the stakeholders like the Oman Airport Management Company (OAMC). He said the taxiways connected to the old runway have been refurbished and subsequently that runway will be also re-laid.
Among the major projects to be completed in 2017 are the doubling of the Bidbid Road (Phase I and part of Phase II), doubling of the Al Batinah Expressway (six-packages), doubling of Nizwa, Ibri road (Phase II), Sinaw- Mahout-Duqm road (Phase I and II) and doubling of the Qurayat Road starting from the Oman LNG roundabout.
Around 12 pedestrian bridges and 22 pedestrian underpasses will be completed this year.
The ministry said the new Land Transport Law has general provisions that allow the competent authority to issue regulations and decisions necessary to implement the provisions of the law.
It enables to establish rules and procedures governing the activities of ground transportation in coordination with the competent authorities. It also promotes and expands investment in road transport activities.
As per the National Strategy for Logistics (2040), international agreements will allow for pre-clearance of 85 per cent for all goods before they reach the Omani ports and borders and delivery of goods anywhere in the Sultanate within 48 hours of their arrival at the border.
It will also improve the ranking of the Sultanate in various World Economic Forum and the World Trade Organisation indicators. There will be a mechanism to ensure the transfer of cargo between the ports and free zones.
The other announcements included that the licensing process for Salalah and Al Sharqiyah airlines and Sohan Aviation College is in process.
The ministry unveiled plans to integrate all ports of Oman and aggressively promote and market them to tap their potential.