Muscat: Oman’s efforts to expand its cargo, transportation and logistics sectors have been provided new impetus, following the signing of an agreement between Oman Aviation Group and international logistics company DHL.
Under the agreement, DHL will open a new cargo collection and sorting facility at Muscat International Airport. In the making for the last two years, the deal is in keeping with the country’s national objectives under Vision 2040.
“The National Aviation Strategy, launched in 2020, identified the potential to grow market share in our established markets, including the GCC, and expand to new secondary markets in Asia, Africa and Europe,” explained Mustafa Al Hinai, the group CEO for Oman Aviation Group.
“The group is moving ahead with a number of partnerships, we are already in the final phase of deciding on a number of agreements, either with local companies that work on last-mile delivery, as well as with other freight forwarders and aggregators.
“This is the second international partnership we have signed in air logistics: we have previously signed with SATS from Singapore, which is currently managing our ground handling,” he added.
“I must thank DHL for their patience with us, because for us there was a lot of involvement, in terms of how to launch an international partnership at Muscat International Airport.”
According to Moustafa Osman, the country manager for DHL Oman, the setting up of the facility in Oman will complement the company’s existing infrastructure in Bahrain, Dubai and Abu Dhabi.
“We will have three or four flights a week to start with, and we will see more and more DHL planes landing at Muscat International Airport, which is in line with the targets we have agreed upon and set together, which is to see 730,000 tonnes of cargo passing through the country by 2030,” he explained.
“In line with Oman 2040, we are pleased to take part with the group’s effort as a partner,” added Osman. Providing this investment in Oman is a big part of our plans. It provides huge potential for growth and development. Oman has a great geographical location, a good political status, and we have received excellent support from everyone involved in Oman.
With purchases through e-commerce outlets increasing steadily over the years, and significantly more rapidly during the COVID-19 pandemic, Osman noted that a strong logistics network is required to reduce shipping and delivery times to customers, for many of whom these goods are considered vital.
“We see a great opportunity for investment and are committed to investing more in the country in future,” he said. “We are also planning to invest in other places like Duqm, and aim to expand our fleets to serve our Oman market and provide better service to companies that are here, which includes the SMEs in the country.
He added: “Having this warehouse in the airport helps with our e-commerce strategy. E-commerce has become an essential part of shopping today, and we have seen this during the COVID-19 pandemic. We therefore have to move with the demands. Oman has a great potential to become a huge hub for e-commerce shipments to serve the local and the regional market.”
Commenting on the facilities to be made available to DHL at the airport, Osman said: “We will have a warehouse of 15,000 square metres, which will feed into the apron of the airport, so we can serve our Oman customers quickly and easily. There is big growth happening in the logistics business and building a hub here will help support the development that is taking place in the region.”