SALALAH -Integrated logistics giant A P Moller – Maersk (Maersk) has billed Thursday’s landmark pilot of a first ever sea-air link service as a further milestone for the Sultanate of Oman’s ambitions to become a logistics hub.

On Thursday, Maesrk, in collaboration with Port of Salalah and Oman Airports, successfully undertook a sea-air logistics solution via Oman for cargo moving from Colombo, Sri Lanka, to Cairo, Egypt. The Royal Oman Police (ROP) Customs and the Ministry of Transport, Communications and Information Technology (MoTCIT) supported the initiative as well.

“Oman is increasingly becoming an important hub for logistics, owing to the strategic location of its seaports and airports and a strong presence of network catering to customers regionally and globally,” said Christopher Cook, Managing Director, Maersk UAE, Oman and Qatar. He added, “Our multimodal solution via Oman offers agility and resilience to our customers’ supply chains by giving access to a priority product balancing between market demand, product safety, transit time and cost.” "This achievement is the outcome of our joint endeavours to revolutionise Salalah into a Multi-Modal Supply Chain Hub as part of the Salalah Value Proposition initiative. It marks a significant milestone and a pivotal moment for all of us," remarked Keld M Christensen, the CEO of the Port of Salalah. He expressed gratitude for the unwavering dedication and backing from essential partners, such as A P Moller-Maersk, Oman Airports, and ROP Customs and MoTCIT, which played a vital role in bringing this vision to fruition.

The pilot cargo movement on the sea-air solution is a shipment of retail and lifestyle cargo from Colombo to Cairo. The first leg of transportation was carried out on a Maersk vessel from Colombo to Salalah. From the Port of Salalah, the cargo was discharged and transported to Salalah Airport under a customs-bonded corridor. On arrival at the cargo terminal at Salalah Airport, the shipment underwent security clearance and was air freighted on priority to Cairo, Egypt.

The sea-air solution has several benefits for Maersk’s customers. It can help reduce transit times on traditional east-to-west trade routes by 20-40 per cent compared to pure ocean transportation and generate a cost saving of 10-20 per cent compared to air freight. Maersk’s strong collaboration with all involved stakeholders means that customers will get prioritised bookings, loading & stowage, clearances and airlifting the cargo. Besides the obvious time and cost savings, the strategic location of Salalah Port and Salalah Airport allows Maersk to offer multiple service products, including a hub solution to connect new and emerging markets, making Oman a perfect gateway to the rest of the world.

The facilities at the Port of Salalah and the Salalah Airport are capable of supporting different commodities, from general cargo to speciality products like pharmaceuticals and perishable products. This gateway will also be an effective opportunity to support aid & relief cargo movement to countries accessible only with air connection to complete the distribution.

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