Oman's reworked transport sector annual plan retains logistics hub aim

Energy Monday 08/June/2020 16:16 PM
By: Times News Service
Oman's reworked transport sector annual plan retains logistics hub aim

Muscat: Promoting direct import and export activities and creation of a single window service for land, sea and air transport were among the highlights of the new 2020 transport sector plan unveiled by Dr. Ahmed bin Mohammed bin Salem Al Futaisi, Minister of Transport.
He revealed the Ministry's exceptional plan for the current year 2020 after it was reviewed in accordance with the developments of the Covid-19 pandemic through visual communication with a number of representatives of media in the presence of the Ministry's undersecretaries, CEO of Asyad Group and CEO of Oman Aviation Group.
Afterward, he gave the guests a visual presentation of the Ministry of Transport's 2020 plan entitled "Sustainability, Competitiveness and Growth: The current and future phase of transport sectors. The plan envisages continued action to enable Omani ports to promote direct imports and exports activities to various countries of the world, making Oman a global logistics hub. It will also aim to enhance the integration of the logistics system and provide a single window service for land, sea and air from factory/producer and to end-user. This will lead to the delivery of an integrated product at competitive prices and as soon as possible.
Additionally, it will maintain the great success achieved in this system during the Covid-19 pandemic, which proved the efficiency of the logistics sector generally and Omani ports in particular.
He stated that at the beginning of this year 2020 the Ministry employed a specific plan for its initiatives and operational projects, but with the emergence of Covid19 and the collapse of global oil prices, it led us to review the priorities of projects and operating plans and work to tailor them to the current challenges and its new circumstances.
This was necessary to ensure a better achievement performance of goals and the development of economic accelerators for different sectors of the ministry as well build on the national gains and maximize the benefits from them.
The Ministry will work closely with the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Oman Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the private sector to motivate traders to exploit the logistics system in order meet the needs of the local market, expand their business and export to regional and global markets.
It will also aim to encourage innovation and digital transformation, promoting cybersecurity, using emerging technologies in the logistics sector while enabling e-commerce and the scientific research and development system in the transport sector, which is one of the competitiveness enablers.
The plan this year will focus on building future leaders, developing national capacities, placing professional rehabilitation workflow for Omani staff, as well recruiting and empowering the Omani staff in the sector and activating major steps towards a well-thought-out jobs positions replacement.
In addition, the plan will focus on strengthening the role of SMEs, promoting entrepreneurship in the logistics sector and supporting it to serve transport, aviation and logistics sectors.
In the civil aviation sector, the Ministry and the Public Authority for Civil Aviation will work with Oman Air Group and related authorities to develop an effective and rapid plan aimed at resuming flights. This will reconnect Oman to the world by air, rejuvenate the local Civil aviation sector, re-establishing it a new and bolster the sustainability of its operation.
The airlines and the network of previous operations will be restructured and will receive financial, operational, operating, technical and functionality practical models as well institutional performance governance that meets global standards for the expected time period to help in the recovery of this vital sector.
The national aviation strategy will also be implemented with global investment outcomes and projects to enhance the contribution to the economic diversification programme as follows: the national travel and tourism operator, Muscat Airport City, the development of the free zone, the aviation gateway and the logistics portal, the construction of new food and fish processing facilities near the airport, and investment in digital transformation and the Fourth Industrial Revolution.
Promotion and marketing programs will also be intensified to connect Oman to global markets through integration with the Public Authority for Investment Promotion and Export Development (Ithraa) and to continue the efforts that have been made either through prominent attendees at the World Economic Forum, other international organisations and influential international events, or advertising through Global television channels and various other media platforms.
In addition, the Ministry will increase its efforts in empowering the private sector to play its primary role by privatizing some of the existing businesses in Government owned companies working in transport sector while working with the rule that any business that attracts the private sector is given priority.
The most prominent examples of this are (Thamreet- Salalah) Trucks only roads, Al-Mabeela-Bidbid Bypass road, Airport city, development of Burj Al Sahwa station, digital platform for the port community, logistics solutions for exporting rocks from Manji and Al Shwemaya, granting a second license for airport Taxi services, development of a transport platform(Naql), Asyad Express and all the land plots under the supervision of the Ministry of Transport.
The ministry will also continue to raise the efficiency of regulation by adopting professional standards for various sectors of cargo and passengers transport and last mile delivery. This comes with the aim of raising the level of service with international standards and blinding jobs in these areas and to lead the way to a successful Omanisation.
The Ministry will work on completing the current under progress road projects and open it for traffic such as Adam-Haima-Tahmreet Dual carriage way “the last Haima remaining portion”, Sharqya expressway “Al Kamil-Sur portion”, Aircrafts maintenance Facility and Other projects underway. The Ministry will also review the remaining projects priorities in its development plan.
This year, the Ministry is also seeking with its partners in the sector to implement several projects, the most important of which is the operation of the rock berth in Suhar port, the expansion of the port of Suhar from the north towards Harmol, the expansion of the port in the south side towards Mejis, and the operation of 10 mobile scales to control the excess loads of trucks On the road network.
Additionally, ministry will also seek to establish he air freight corridor between Oman and air freight operators in Asia countries, not to mention the attribution vegetables and fruits markets in Khazaeen for the developer, the operation of the land port of Khazaen area, the expansion of Khasab and Shanas ports for commercial use, the development of the container terminal in Duqm Port and lastly the expansion of the general cargo terminal and the container terminal at Salalah port.
He confirmed that the government, under the leadership of His Majesty Sultan Haitham bin Tarik-may God bless him-, continues to develop the infrastructure that contributes to promoting economic and social development.
It is always working toward developing the public transport system and promoting awareness of its importance, while seeking to expand the country's road network.
It also exerts the efforts to expand major ports-when needed-after monitoring the commercial traffic in general within the global economic fabric, in addition with the optimisation of small and medium ports along the Omani coast within the Strategic points through a carefully thought-out economic dimension.
He added that the efforts in the past years focused on two phases of growth and development (infrastructure phase, supporting infrastructure phase), in the infrastructure phase major projects for airports, ports and main roads have been completed, while the supporting structure phase represented in the efforts spent to increase the efficiency of logistics services by facilitating clearance and transport procedures for goods through seaports and airports in accordance with global competitive standards.
These efforts have positioned Oman in the top ranks within the world bank's benchmarking in the region, with the time it takes to clear goods at ports, at airports to 24 minutes, inspections declined to just 2.5 per cent, and pre-clearance reached 22 per cent. Electronic tools such as Bayan system have also been activated. This was also backed by the acceptance e-documents copies, the development of advanced inspection mechanisms such as risk management inspection, post-auditing and the activation of advance ruling.
New initiatives have been launched to facilitate trade such as customs bonded corridors (virtual corridors), Authorized Economic Operators, investment warehouses and one-stop inspection stations while staying at round the clock goods clearance services.
A 24/7 call centre has also been launched. This logistic progress reflects the level of government efforts integration between its various entities, starting with the Ministry of Transport, the Directorate General of Customs and various ministries concerned with permits and inspections.
Such keen efforts have enabled Oman's ports and airports to be the most competitive in terms of both financial cost and time factor in the region, as well as the speed of clearance, which has also become comparable to its global counterparts.
Minister of Transport pointed out that the various transport sectors have become ready to push economic diversification, raise national employment rates, create new jobs for citizens and revitalise commerce, investment and industrial movement in all economic development aspects.
This will create a generative base not only to push growth rates to further upward mobility, but also to ensure financial sustainability and stability of the national economy.