The Ministry of Transport and Communications on Monday unveiled the electronic platform, Naql, for all land transport services in the country under the Mwasalat brand.
To be launched from December 1, Naql will implement the executive regulations of the new Land Transport Law through digitizing the licensing, permits and vehicle registration for individuals, companies and institutions, including school buses, taxis and trucks.
Dr Ahmed bin Mohammed al Futaisi, Minister of Transport and Communications, said the platform will have complete details of companies and individuals operating in the sector and licences or permits will be issued only after complete verification under the system.
The new platform, available through a website and an app, is integrated with the Royal Oman Police (ROP) and the Ministry of Commerce and Industry’s
Invest Easy e-service for swift verification purposes.
The platform is prepared by an Omani SME, Global Computer Services, who will be also responsible for its operation and maintenance over a period of 10 years.
The platform will offer a level playing field to all operators by developing a database that will give details on hidden trade and monopolistic trends in the sector.
Mwasalat has been now restructured as a holding entity under which the Naql electronic platform will operate. The buses and ferries will operate under this holding company, which will be responsible for floating tenders for projects and investments.
“Mwasalat will separate day-to-day public transport operations from strategic management and integrate the road and maritime public transport sectors under one umbrella, while ensuring ongoing operational efficiencies and continually improving performance levels,” the company CEO, Ahmed al Balushi, said.
Talking to the Observer, he said, “The operators for future public transport services in cities like Sur and Nizwa will be selected through tender instead of just granting the permit to Mwasalat.”
The platform also aims to develop an integrated database of all road transport users in the Sultanate, including private buses, trucks and taxi drivers, to ensure compliance with transport laws.
Plans are also under way to activate vehicle and road tracking services for companies and institutions to ensure driver safety and monitor compliance with legal transport requirements. The platform will also be connected to truck weighing stations to ensure that maximum loads are not exceeded.
The new model will also enable the private sector to compete with Oman’s National Transport Company (Mwasalat) and National Ferries Company to provide services through operational contracts. It will also implement projects that support the integration and organisation of the transport sector as a whole.
The major investment projects that Mwasalat will undertake include the design, implementation, operation and maintenance of the Naql in partnership with the private sector; development of public transport stations such as Burj Al Sahwa Public Transport Hub; the design and implementation of stations for truck weights along main roads; design, implementation and operation of toll roads with private investment such as Salalah-Thamrait route; the design and implementation of a smartphone application for taxi meters; and tenders for the operation of new ferry lines.
Mwasalat will also be working early next year to establish performance level frameworks with operators prior to the tendering of management agreements.
On the sidelines of the inauguration ceremony, Oman’s National Transport Company (Mwasalat) signed an agreement with Al Raffd Fund and Oman Post to facilitate transport services.
The agreement was signed by Ahmed bin Ali al Balushi, CEO of Mwasalat, Tariq bin Sulaiman al Farsi, CEO of Al Raffd Fund, and Abdul Malik bin Abdul Karim al Balushi, CEO of Oman Post.
The annual contribution of the logistics sector to Oman’s gross domestic product is more than RO 1 billion, and the number of commercial vehicles in the Sultanate reached more than 230,000 in 2018.
Mwasalat carried 5.9 million passengers during 2018, while the National Ferries Company carried more than 243,000 passengers, 62,000 vehicles and 13,000 separate cargos onboard its ferries in 2018.