Muscat: The Sultanate of Oman and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) officially opened the direct road connecting them, the Rub-el-Khali Highway, and inaugurated its checkpoints on both sides of the borders.
The 725-km desert road starts at (Oman’s side) Ibri roundabout in the Governorate of A’Dhahirah and ends at the Rub-el-Khali checkpoint, covering a distance of 161 kilometres.
From the Saudi side, the road begins at Al Bat’ha junction and ends at the border checkpoint—a stretch of 564 kilometres.
The Rub-el-Khali Highway assumes significance in economic terms. It contributes to the expansion of commercial exchange and tourism activity. It enables Omani exports to reach international markets through the Red Sea gateway. It also gives direct access for Saudi exports to reach the rest of the world through Sea of Oman and the Arabian Sea.
Abdullah Saud Al Anzi, Ambassador of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to the Sultanate of Oman, spoke exclusively with The Times of Oman, coinciding with the opening of the Rub-el-Khali Road: “We congratulate everyone on the opening of the Rub-el-Khali Road, through which all citizens and residents can cross, with the procedures in place in the Sultanate of Oman with the neighbouring countries.”
Najeeb Ali Al Rowas, Governor of A’Dhahirah, said in a press statement that the Governorate counts on the Rub-el-Khali in enhancing economic and tourist activity, since A’Dhahirah is the nearest governorate to the KSA.
Al Rowas added that government and private sector organisations are joining hands to maximise benefits from the highway.
He called upon businessmen, entrepreneurs and owners of small and medium enterprises to take the opportunity.
A’Dhahirah Governorate is bracing for public subscription by January 2022 in A’Dhahirah International Company, which will spearhead economic activity and utilise investment opportunities associated with the Rub-el-Khali checkpoint’s opening.
In his turn, Nassir Hamoud Al Mabsali, Director-General of Ibri Industrial City (Madayn) said in a statement to Oman News Agency (ONA) and Oman Radio that Madayn’s vicinity to KSA constitutes a major chance for Saudi investors to explore investment opportunities in the industrial hub.
Incentives to investors at Madayn is currently being prepared to attract Saudi investments include two-year rental exemptions and rent reduction over the subsequent three years, said Mabsali.
Meanwhile, Eng. Said Ali Al Yahya’ee, Director of Roads Department in Al Dhahirah, told ONA and Oman Radio that the road has a single lane that is 3.65 metres wide and kerbs of 2.5 metres. He added that the project includes the construction of a double lane in a 2.7-km section of the Saudi border checkpoint, a roundabout in Al Khuwair area and a roundabout directly before the checkpoint.
For his part, Eng. Yousef Abdulla Al Mujaini, Director of Projects at the Ministry of Transport, Communications and Information Technology, said in a statement to ONA and Oman Radio that the dualisation of the highway is on the agenda of Ministry and that raising the capacity of the road depends on the volume of traffic.
Jumaa Khalfan Al Rowahi, CEO of Makhazen Logistics, told ONA and Oman Radio that the Rub-el-Khali desert highway will spruce up commercial exchange, enrich the economy and facilitate the import and export of commodities in general.