Oman’s logistics operators share views on sector reforms

Published: 6 April 2020 - 1:59 p.m.

Users are responding positively to recent developments in the Omani logistics sector, with a demand for even more progress. In a series of vox pops, representatives of businesses within the sector, had the opportunity to share their experiences first-hand.

Khalid Al Farzi, of Sea Safe Trading, a company which holds authorised economic operator status approved by the General Administration of Customs, has spoken of his company’s experience at both Sohar Port, and Muscat airport. Al Farzi highlights the one stop shop system, which he said is saving his company a great deal of effort, time and money — three considerable wins for any business. The company’s executive director went on to highlight that the system doesn’t only benefit customs clearance companies, but benefits importers too, with all steps these days, as he put it, progressing in the shortest possible time.

Sea Safe Trading’s outlook is far from unique when it comes to logistics in the Sultanate. Abdallah Ez Adin, general manager of Kurtu Trading, reflected on his company’s experience with the Oman SATS Cargo App, citing the automatic notification of shipments on arrival and upon being processed as key benefits from their perspective — with the added bonus of notifications being triggered by part shipments too. He’s looking forward to migrating to the online payment system confident that it will provide further economies within their operations.

Thunder Logistics, operating in Oman since 2013, are seeing their operations streamlined by the Bayan customs clearance system according to CEO Mansoor Al Rawahi. He described the progress in customs clearance as a “quantum leap”, with improvements of less documentation, reduced delay and greater customer delivery. And of course, going digital and consolidating form filling is only the tip of the Bayan iceberg.

Nasser Al Aufi echoed that sentiment with his assessment of Oman’s pre-clearance system. The supply chain senior supervisor at Oman Cables Industry pointed out that given that his company is involved with large quantities of raw materials, which are often high cost metals, the fact that pre-clearance means the goods are in their custody within an hour of unloading is of real importance — for Oman Cables the system saves on time and maximises shipment security.

The availability of an “advance ruling system” was identified by Yousuf Al Alawi, an assistant customs brokerage manager at Bahwan Logistics, as a huge advantage to traders, providing process outcome certainty, saving time, and saving effort. From his perspective this works in favour of all transactional parties.

Finally, Areej Vegetable Oil Derivates logistics and warehouse manager Mohammed Al Jabri showed great pride when discussing his company’s fully automated warehouse facility system. He explained that it’s able to operate at great speed with high levels of accuracy across large volumes, which has enabled the company to become an authorised economic operator. This in turn has simplified their customs procedures, as he explains, providing commercial advantage in the transit of goods and assignments. This significant reduction in the time it takes to clear customs has proved positive for Areej and their Oman operation.

Right across the Omani logistics sector users are fully engaged with the changes happening around them, which reflects well on delivery against Oman’s ambitious national logistics strategy. That said favourable customer satisfaction reporting breeds higher expectations. The challenge for the sector moving forward will be to continue to develop processes with even greater efficiencies — which will no doubt require more creativity, innovation and technology. All three of these elements have played their part to date, and there’s no reason to think they won’t continue to do so into the future.

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