Omani sea ports ranked first in terms of the value of the Sultanate of Oman’s exports to other countries in 2021. With 86 per cent of export goods handling, Mina al Fahal emerged as the perfect seaport in the region.
Among the land ports, with 12 per cent of the value of exports, the highest was at Khatm al Shakla port, then airports with 2 per cent, the highest was through Muscat International Airport.
The volume of trade exchange of the Sultanate of Oman reached RO 33.8 billion during 2021, compared to RO 28 billion in 2020, registering an increase of 20.7 per cent, according to the customs database of the General Administration of Customs for the year 2021.
Shipping through seaports is less expensive compared to shipping through airports. Over the past years, the Sultanate of Oman has worked to enhance the performance of ports, facilitate customs release procedures for goods, and open direct lines between Omani ports and many international ports.
It works to become a regional centre for import and export, having invested billions of riyals in the construction of ports along its shores, in addition to completing the legislative and technical infrastructure that facilitates the work of importers and exporters, attracts local and foreign investments.
Oman is distinguished by its strategic location overlooking open seas and proximity to international shipping lines. The government focuses on making the main Omani ports pivotal export centres in the region.
Over the past years, it has signed agreements with international companies to manage and operate the main ports to benefit from its global experience in attracting international shipping lines and investments of an export nature to the country.
Through its commercial and industrial ports and seaports, Oman seeks to be among the top ten countries in logistical performance at the international level by 2040, and for the transport and communications sector to become the second source of national income.
Through the implementation of successive five-year plans, Oman was able to develop a series of ports, whether commercial, industrial, touristic or fish, and began reaping the fruits of its investments in this sector, especially in the port of Salalah and Sohar. Thus, it was able to attract billions of riyals as local and international investments, provided thousands of job opportunities and raised the port sector’s contribution to the Sultanate’s national product.
To develop and enhance the competitiveness of the ports sector in the region, the Ministry of Transport, Communication and Information Technology plays a tangible role in the marketing programmes of ports and industrial zones. The ministry coordinates with port management and operation companies and the competent authorities regarding the international marketing programmes for the ports it supervises, and each port prepares an annual marketing plan to attract foreign investment.
Omani ports are characterised by specifications comparable to international ports, as they are able to receive the largest ships in the world.
They have berths with a depth of some 25 metres, sufficient storage areas, container terminals, and modern equipment for handling goods. The government has prepared the infrastructure for Omani ports and has been equipped with modern equipment in order to be ready for the import and export process and the speed of clearing the goods.
One of the most important main ports in Oman is the Port of Salalah, which is the pivotal centre for the distribution and transport of containers in the transit area between the east and west. It enjoys a strategic location overlooking the axis of the Indian Ocean countries, and its location on international shipping lines. The port area is 10.71 square kilometres and contains twenty-one berths. While Sohar port is a specialised port for general cargo, containers, and liquid and bulk cargo activities. The area of the port is more than 45 square kilometres and contains twenty one berths. As for the Port of Duqm, it is considered one of the major economic projects and has a developed infrastructure. It is projected to support the national economy and contribute to diversifying sources of income by attracting huge industrial investments due to its distinguished geographical location close to international shipping lines and African and Asian markets.
PORT OF DUQM
The Sultanate of Oman is preparing the port of Duqm to become one of the main ports in the region. The port currently witnesses the implementation of several infrastructure projects preparing it for the stage of full commercial operation. The most prominent of these projects are: the establishment of the commercial terminal for the berth, which includes the construction of roads, the gate of the commercial pier, the inspection area, the truck registration building, the port’s one-stop-shop building, the customs building, and other buildings related to the clearance work of the commercial terminal.
The Sultan Qaboos Port in Muttrah, which was established in 1974, is the first port in Oman for import and export services. It attracted the bulk of goods of various types and sizes and made a significant contribution to the modern development of the country. It covers an area of 26.7 square kilometres and contains 13 berths. However, the port of Khasab in the Governorate of Musandam receives great attention from the government to encourage commercial movement and serve the local economy of the governorate due to its strategic location near the Strait of Hormuz in the far north of Oman. As for Shinas port, it is one of the most important ports in revitalising the movement of local trade between the wilayats of Al Batinah North in connection with fishing, livestock trade and agricultural products. It witnessed many developments represented in the provision of floating berths to serve trade and fishing activities and the rehabilitation of livestock pens in the port.
According to officials, these ports, thanks to their global infrastructure, will provide a set of competitive advantages for their presence on the main trade lines of the markets of Asia, the Indian subcontinent, the Middle East, Africa and Europe. They provide a distinguished connection network that keeps pace with the requests of ships that exceed 3,000 requests to move to more than 52 destinations from the ports. Thus, they provide better transit times, provide the advantage of changing direction on the main shipping lane between East and West to a minimum and facilitate access to those markets through one efficient and secure central location. Also, making the Sultanate of Oman a global logistics centre is represented in simplifying procedures, the flexibility of legislation and policies related to transport, shipping and customs, opening the door for foreign investments and licensing the establishment of companies that enhance the work of the logistics sector. That is also done through speeding up and facilitating transactions by making a qualitative leap in the systems of completing transactions that govern the movement, inspection and financing of the shipping market across borders, ports, airports, and the entire supply chain and reduce the time period for the release of goods.
By coordinating with the General Administration of Customs, several initiatives that facilitate trade have been accomplished, such as the one-stop-shop for inspections, customs warehouses, the application of the International Land Transport Agreement and others.
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