Buses and ferries to be privatised: Asyad Group chief

Energy Wednesday 19/June/2019 20:16 PM
By: Times News Service

Muscat: Mwasalat buses, taxis and the National Ferries Company (NFC) are all up for privatisation, according to the chief of Asyad Group.
Both Mwasalat and NFC are part of the Asyad Group, formed in 2017 to help Oman become a top logistics hub.
Abdulrahman Al Hatmi, Group CEO, said: “The privatisation is there in maritime transport. There are other companies that we are planning to privatise in the coming years besides Mwasalat and NFC. We call on the private sector companies to cooperate and invest. We are going to give at least 75 per cent of the Masirah-Shannah) NFC route to the private sector companies to manage as it is the busiest route. We are also going to do the same with Mwasalat as part of our restructuring plan. The private sector can also manage the Mwasalat routes through bidding by tenders after meeting quality and safety standards,” he added.
The Asyad Group has reported a growth of 14 per cent in the first half of 2019 compared to 2018 and forecasts 23 per cent overall growth for 2019. Net profit of the company is the highest to date and it forecasts sustained growth in net profit beating 2018 targets, according to the chief of Asyad Group.
Al Hatmi was speaking at the semi-annual gathering on Wednesday featuring an overview presentation on current operations and upcoming future plans, which the group had organised.
Al Hatmi added: “The group ports are forecast to see a 27 per cent growth in bulk volumes and 14 per cent growth in container volumes this year. Foreign investment volume in the Sohar and Salalah free zones have reached US$500 million this year, already surpassing the total amount invested in 2018.”
He projected 50 per cent year-on-year growth in the number of passengers using Mwasalat and said it achieved a historic milestone of 43,000 users in a single day. According to Al Hatmi, National Ferries Company (NRC) achieved cost reductions of OMR 500,000 annually over the last five years while reaching 81 per cent Omanisation across the company.
Looking forward to the second half of 2019, Al Hatmi said: “Our strength as a group comes from our integration - sharing in each others’ progress to make Asyad and the Sultanate’s position as a global logistics leader.
“The upcoming rollout of our Hub Project, connecting freight from ship to last-mile shipment, is a great example of how we are all working together to add new capabilities across the value chain. “Another priority for us is the digitisation of all services and the adoption of new technologies such as Big Data, artificial intelligence (AI), Internet of Things (IoT) and blockchain into our operations – ensuring that Asyad offers one of the most competitive, advanced, efficient and technologically-integrated logistics solutions worldwide.”