Muscat: The ferry services provided by the National Ferries Company (NFC) today cover eight local ports through 69 journeys per week, in addition to providing access to a few regional ports.
The company's latest statistics issued at the end of October 2017 have indicated an increase in both the number of passengers and vehicles transported on the ferry fleet. The number of passengers transported by the end of October this year was 198,622 passengers, compared to 183,354 in the same period last year, recording an increase of 8 per cent.
The number of vehicles shipped on ferries by the end of October reached 50,916 vehicles, compared to 44.431 in the same period last year, a rise of 15 per cent. In addition to this, it shipped more than 27,000 tonnes of equipment and heavy goods.
The company has an advanced fleet of seven ferries of various models and functions to suit the requirements of the various regions to transport passengers, vehicles and light cargo, besides the landing ship (Halaniyat) that provides transport services for equipment and heavy vehicles, as well as livestock.
The company's efforts since the start of its operations have not only enhanced the maritime transport system, but have also helped Omanise various senior positions by recruiting Omani youth to work with the ferry crew and provide new job opportunities in the market. Today, Omani youth occupy the highest maritime positions as pilots of the latest fleet of fast ferries.
The efforts made by NFC demonstrates its key role in the overall development of the Sultanate. The company is one of the products of the renaissance in the developmental and economic sector of the country and is witness to the progress enjoyed by the Sultanate under the glorious reign of His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said.
The company has contributed to the economic and social development in the Sultanate by providing suitable and convenient means of transport for its citizens and residents while enhancing tourism and commercial activity through the transport of individuals, vehicles and goods, in addition to contributing to the benefits for investors by reducing the cost of transporting inputs in the construction sector in the Governorate of Musandam and Masairah Island, as well as increasing the movement of tourists, thus stimulating hotel activity.
The NFC aims to provide a modern, convenient way for citizens, residents and tourists to travel, as well as to connect the coastal areas of the Sultanate. It is also a tourist window to the Sultanate through the participation and attendance of several international conferences and events. It is a platform to introduce visitors to these exhibitions and highlight the role played by the company in the field of providing integrated tourism products and services, and to establish the Sultanate's position in the forefront of the global tourism industry, as the Sultanate owns modern and sophisticated infrastructure, as well as logistical strategies, which qualify it to become the focus of the international shipping lines, and the most important tourist destinations in the region and the world.