Oman Logistics Center together with Sohar Port & Freezone engaged with the Sohar business community through Logistics Forum-Trade First (an extension of the Logistics Forum held in October at Muscat) to provide update on new tools and facilitations brought available by the logistics stakeholders to ease trade flow through Sohar port. The event was organized by Oman Logistics Center as part of the implementation of the Sultanate of Oman Logistics Strategy (SOLS 2040).
Various speakers from the public and private sector provided insight on the usage and benefits of the new tools.
Directorate General of Customs announced relaxation to the presentation of trade documents at customs. This decision was made to support traders in expediting goods through borders and especially to encourage early reporting to customs. Pre-arrival clearance of shipments saves time and cost - currently 22% of cargo arriving at Sohar port are cleared before arrival of the vessel.
While Directorate of Customs and other Government Control Agencies are already applying risk management in their controls, Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries are working on adopting to e-phyto in Oman – enhancing safe trade in plants and plant products.
Logistics service providers have an equally important and active role in making trade flows more efficient. Sohar Port and Freezone recently launched Sohar Navigate, a unique online route planner, which provides information on available connections to hinterland destinations. The web-based service helps traders to find optimal routing option to reach global markets. The platform is the first of its kind in the region and will comprise of sea schedules connecting to 550 ports worldwide. These enhancements have the potential of cutting administrative dwell time, making Sohar more attractive gateway to access the region.
Mr. Anacin Kum, CEO, Hutchison Ports Sohar said:
“Hutchison Ports Sohar received the winning award in Excellence in Port Management and Infrastructure from Lloyd’s List South Asia, Middle East and Africa Awards 2019”. New cranes are added this year and four new shipping lines started direct services from Sohar port to Far East, China and Indian Subcontinent ports.
In recent years Sohar port has shown significant improvement in efficiency through adopting new technologies and infrastructure which has helped in easing trade flow into Oman.
Research quoted in the OECD Report “Aid for Trade at a Glace” indicated that a one-day border delay drives up costs on average by about 0.8%. In 2015, dwell time at Sohar port was approximately 12 days and as of today it is at 5 days. Based on NCSI statistics on import trade value for Sohar port alone, reducing dwell time by 7 days has saved trade cost by approx. OMR 300 million per year.
The business community and the government are working together equally to realize the importance of improving logistics efficiency and are collectively working towards reducing the overall dwell time to international standard of one day for all major ports in Oman. Oman ranked 1st in the GCC in Cross Border Trade Index of World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business report 2019.
Mr. Al Khattab Salim Saif Al Maani, Executive Director of Oman Logistics Center at ASYAD, Oman Logistics Center said:
“The business community and the Government of Oman are playing an active role in realizing the Sultanate’s shipping and transshipment potential, contributing to the positive development of the domestic logistics industry and encouraging the collective work that is having a pronounced and positive effect on the overall dwell times at all major ports in Oman. Oman recently ranked 1st in the GCC in Cross Border Trade according to the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business report 2019.