Muscat: The Sultanate seeks to improve business and investment activities in its seaports as a measure to attract operators of international shipping lines and maximise benefits from the prominent geographical position as an eastern gateway for the Arabian Peninsula.

Oman boasts a variety of deep water ports that enable global operators of shipping lines to easily carry out major cargo operations.

Oman Shipping Company, an arm of Asyad Group, works to realise Asyad’s initiative to revolutionise Omani seaports and achieve its performance targets as part of an overall revamp of the logistics service sector.

The initiative continue to make headway since its inception in 2019 through the establishment of the commercial arm of Oman Container Line and maritime services offered to GCC states and India.

Oman Container Line seeks to increase the number of transported containers and accordingly, managed to achieve 7 per cent additional performance along Indian Express Line during the first half of this year, despite challenges posed by coronavirus (COVID-19).

In this context, Ziyad bin Abdullah al Harbi, Strategic Planning & Research, Oman Shipping Company, said that the company’s initiative achieved high performance indicators and that the pandemic did not affect the firm very seriously, since operational infrastructure for Oman Container Line had already been established prior to the onset of COVID-19 way back in 2019.

The first direct shipping route to Indian ports was operated by December 2019 as part of the inauguration of Express India Service Line.

This was in addition to expansion in commercial operations of container shipping along all other routes operated by the company, said Ziyad, noting that this step contributed to enhancing Asyad Group’s preparedness to deal with the pandemic, while at the same time opening up direct shipping lines that, in turn, reinforced direct import and export, supported the national economy and provided the basic needs of the Sultanate — and this truth stood stark clear in the midst of the crisis.

“In fact, the pandemic reflected positively by speeding up the start of chilled container shipping.

The company launched its first cooled container transport services to meet urgent demand during the pandemic, and this opened commercial opportunities and earned the company more experience and an ability to deliver chilled containers before scheduled dates, said Ziyad Al Harbi.

He added that the company has affiliation with a 10-port network, including the ports of Sohar, Duqm and Salalah, through three maritime trade routes of OEX, IEX & GEX, in addition to the ports of Hamad and Khalifa.

The inauguration of Indian Express route (IEX) was in particular instrumental in activating the company’s initiative, since it covers Mundra port and other Indian ports, Sohar port, Jebel Ali port and Al Dammam port, said Al Harbi, who explained that a policy of slow navigation helped cut down operational costs, reschedule some trips and remove others at certain times.

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