Muscat: The logistics sector has been part of the Omani government’s vision since the dawn of the Renaissance. As an enabler of growth, it has played a key role in diversifying the economy by placing Oman on the global logistics map and attracting Foreign Direct Investments (FDIs) and mega-projects with competitive incentives and benefits.
Leading these efforts is Asyad Group, which has been paving the way for Oman’s logistics drive since 2016. By implementing best practices and adopting the latest technologies and solutions, it has been able to transform the sector and increase its contribution to the national GDP to 4 per cent in 2020.
An OMR 1.5 billion enterprise, the global integrated logistics service provider was ranked the fourth biggest logistics company in the Middle East and North Africa (Mena) by Forbes Middle East magazine for the year 2021. It operates three deep ports, two free zones and an economic zone in addition to providing full maritime services with one of the largest drydocks in the Middle East.
Furthermore, it owns a diversified fleet of 60 vessels, supported by a sea transport network that connects Oman to 86 commercial ports in 40 countries worldwide through an average of 200 direct lines weekly.
The Sultanate of Oman’s ports has proved their resilience against a challenging economic backdrop as they continued to sustainably meet the country’s food and medical needs. Port operations and efficiencies remained at an all-time high while new strategic partnerships were forged with a growing list of global shipping lines.
Today, Sohar Port, Port of Salalah and Port of Duqm have become gateways into Oman and important destinations on global trade routes that connect the country to Asian, European and African markets. Oman’s medium ports (Suwaiq, Shinas, Khasab & Port of Sultan Qaboos) have also played a crucial role in providing local produce with access to markets in the region.
Overall, Omani ports’ commercial operations and volumes of direct import recorded a 5 per cent increase over the first nine months of 2021 (Q1 to Q3). The number of containers handled reached 3.9 million TEUs, a 3 per cent rise compared to the same period in 2020 while general cargo was 7 per cent more with 41.2 million tonnes. The volume of liquid commodity handling also saw a steady increase of 8 per cent compared to 2020, reaching 15 million tonnes.
Likewise, the Free zones in Sohar, Salalah and Khazaen Economic City have been instrumental in bolstering the sector’s socio-economic contributions by fostering a nurturing environment for Omani SMEs and FDIs to grow and prosper. Offering fully integrated logistics solutions supplemented with attractive incentives and benefits, Oman’s Free zones are well-equipped to serve the needs of local, regional and international companies today and in the future. Currently, Sohar and Salalah Free zones are home to OMR 2 billion worth of operating projects, with another OMR 450 million worth of projects under construction.
Asyad Shipping and Asyad Drydock have also recorded a solid performance, further highlighting the successful integration of the group’s service offering to achieve global competitiveness. The group today owns a growing fleet of more than 60 state-of-the-art vessels with a total capacity of 9 million tonnes, offering dynamic shipping solutions to its customers.
As a result of its strategic vision, Asyad’s container shipping line saw a 19 per cent growth in commercial activities over the first nine months of 2021, shipping 261,686 containers, and connecting Oman to markets in the GCC, Indian sub-continent and East Asia. Aiming to better serve the local and regional markets, Asyad Group also purchased 9,600 new containers of which 100 are refrigerated, a sound decision that successfully allowed for the import of food and medical products directly from producing countries. Today, the Oman Container Line is amongst the Alphaliner’s top 100 largest container and liner operators in the world based on capacity.
Building a strong reputation in the market, Asyad Drydock serves customers from 35 countries around the world. The Group’s services recorded a remarkable year with a 35 per cent increase in ship repair during the first nine months of 2021. Total projects procured were 143 in comparison to 106 for the same period in 2020.
With its eye on the future, Asyad has been continuously building on its Drydock capacities and capabilities. Today it provides shipbuilding solutions in addition to maintenance and general vessel repair services, further positioning the Group and Oman as a one-stop-integrated logistics shop.
Serving the increasing demand for e-commerce in the GCC, Asian and African markets, the group’s renowned Asyad Express service is turning all eyes to Oman as it offers customers in 220 destinations a suite of fulfilment and last-mile solutions that capitalize on its integrated operational structure. The centre provides a full packaging and wrapping solution, cold and temperature-controlled storage facilities for both imports and exports, helping individual customers and sellers alike locally and internationally. Catering to the needs of corporates, the centre also offers efficient, reliable and fast mail services to over 230 clients worldwide.
A testament to its efforts to drive the growth of the sector, Asyad Group was named Integrated Logistics Service Company of the Year during the 2021 Logistics & Transport Awards. The award recognised the group’s unwavering commitment and dedication during the year to position Oman as a global logistics hub.