Agility set up its regional operations in Oman in 2005 to service some of its key global customers in the country. Now, it has opened a new office in the Special Economic Zone Authority (SEZAD) of the Port of Duqm to service key customers in the FMCG, oil & gas, chemicals, retail and engineering goods sectors.
“Agility will be able to access the port, the ship dry dock, the oil refinery, the regional airport and the logistics services area at SEZAD, giving the company more ways to support local companies, SMEs, and multinationals,” says Elias Monem, CEO Middle East and Africa, Agility.
“The logistics and transport sector has seen major infrastructure updates positioning Oman as a key logistics competitor in the region as well as a crucial logistics hub in the Middle East,” he adds.
“Road, rail and air transport projects have received major infrastructure investments from the government, while sea transport has received investments from external private companies such as ourselves.”
With the commercial ports in Oman situated strategically on the Arabian Peninsula, giving direct access to the wider Middle East, Asia and Africa, Agility will be able to leverage Port of Duqm as a strategic location for facilitating trade.
Added to this, the transport and logistics sector is part of the government initiative `Tanfeedh’ which is the national program for enhancing economic diversification. With the strategic location, abundant natural resources and favorable government policies, the country has opportunities to grow this sector further.
“Agility with its local infrastructure and international experience is well positioned to participate and contribute to growth in this emerging market,” says Monem. “We are currently looking at further expansion opportunities within Oman closely.”
The new investment in Duqm will significantly increase Agility’s Oman workforce as the company develops operations within SEZAD. There are plans to grow its 160-strong Omani workforce further, while also expanding its fleet of more than 56 vehicles to move goods to and from Oman’s ports, airports, industrial areas and logistics services area.
“Local hiring is in line with the government’s vision to develop Omani talent and create a diverse workforce that will contribute to the economic growth of the Sultanate,” adds Monem.
Port of Duqm is Oman’s most recent Free Zone set up on 2,000 sqkm, with planned investments of more than US $10.7-billion under way in the industrial city complementing the port. It is one of the largest free zones in the MENA region and ranks among the largest in the world. It is envisioned as an energy hub, as well as an industrial and commercial center and Agility, by choosing to open an office there, supports Duqm and Oman in reinforcing this positioning.
“As one of a few global freight forwarders with its own customs brokerage license in Oman, Agility provides brokerage services for a number of local and multinational organisations,” says Monem. The construction for Duqm refinery has already started and the downstream projects will follow.
“Agility has a specialised projects division with a successful track record of handling several such products in the region including Oman. In the downstream sector there will be opportunities for inbound logistics, customs clearance, international freight, domestic transportation and so on, which Agility has specific solutions for every logistics activity,” he adds.
From a broader perspective Agility believes that tenants with international experience and a global network of operations can contribute towards economic diversification that could spark more private industry, create new types of jobs, and attract foreign investment.