Business-friendly environment, modern business law framework, respect for free markets, contract sanctity, relatively low taxes, and a one-stop-shop at the Ministry of Commerce and Industry for business registration, there are no enough reason to prove that Oman is one of best locations for foreign investment in the Middle-East. And to add more, Oman’s educated and bilingual workforce and modern transport factors are also the positive factors. There are various business entities like LLC, Partnership, Joint Stock Company, Branch office, etc. and many free zones through which an entrepreneur can start business in Oman. Not just this, Oman also has Industrial Estate and Ports through which businesses can widen their outreach.
As a part of Oman’s strategy to diversify its economy away from the hydrocarbon and improve the overall quality of sea trade, the government has invested heavily in developing its seaport infrastructure.
Oman has 3 seaports and 2 industrial ports, with every port adding value to the business environment of the country.
1. Port of Duqm
Located in the Al Wusta Governorate, Port of Duqm enjoys a superior and open location. After building a dry dock for ship repair this ports importance has gradually increased. This port is rapidly transforming in the regions maritime landscape. The Port of Duqm is also the Special Economic Zone of Oman underpinned by the multipurpose deck and dry dock. The business activities performed under this port includes refining and petrochemicals, heavy industry, light manufacturing, fish processing, tourism and leisure, mineral processing and more.
The Duqm SEZ which also has the Port of Duqm is by far the largest economic initiative in Oman’s modern history and there is further a long-term vision underpinning this giant venture. It is also one of major seaports in Oman.
2. Port Sultan Qaboos
Port Sultan Qaboos is the premier getaway for International Commerce in Oman. Located in the Gulf of Oman at the gate of Arabian Gulf, this port is an ideal location as a regional hub, as a getaway for international markets, more specifically to the markets in the Indian subcontinent and Asia. The various facilities provided in the Port of Sultan Qaboos are:
- Deep Drafted Berths
- Navigational Aids and Facilities
- Ample Covered and Open Storage Space
- Range of Container and Cargo Handling Equipment
- Cruise Terminal Facilities
- State-of-the-Art Technologies
- Berthing facilities and Harbor services
The Port Services Corporation (SAOG) manages and operates this Port. The competitive edge through innovative and progressive policies and path-breaking initiatives in the ports operations is what makes this port one of the best amongst the other ports in Oman.
3. Sohar Port
Situated 220 km away from its capital Muscat, Sohar Port in Oman is a multipurpose industrial and logistics complex in the Sultanate of Oman. This port is also a free zone having three clusters: logistics, petrochemicals, and metals. The Sohar Port and free zone has presence of the world-renowned companies like Vale, Air Liquide, Larsen and Toubro, Methanol Holding International and Jindal Power and Steel. The various facilities provided in this port are:
- Vessel Notification System
- Shipping Vessel
- Port Services
- Marine Services
- Stevedoring Services
- Shipping Lines/Ship Agents
- Cargo Handling
This Port is also famous for food sector. It is the centre for the largest consumer market of nearly 2 billion people, a region that is reporting excellent growth figures in the consumption of perishables and packaged food products.
4. Port of Salalah
Port Salalah is situated right at the major East-West shipping lanes. It is a world class transshipment hub in the West Central Asian region. It has the advantage of strategically attractive location in the heart of the Indian Ocean Rim and caters to some of the world’s largest ocean-going vessels. Salalah Port Services Company SAOG is a Public Omani Company with 30% foreign ownership and 70% locally owned. The A.P. Moller - Maersk Group is the largest shareholder with 30%, The Omani Government 20%, Local Private Sector 19%, Government Pension Funds 11% and 20% is traded on the Muscat Securities Market.
It started operating in the year 1998 and since its inception the Salalah Port in Oman has experienced consistent double-digit growth. The year after its opening, it set the world record for productivity, with more than 250 moves per hour. Today, those high standards continue as its capacity, investment in technology and ability to innovate continues apace.
5. Port of Khasab
The main advantage of this port is its proximity towards the Strait of Hormuz, due to which it has received considerable attention from the government in order to encourage commercial traffic in Musandum Governorate and service the local economy of the province, and has seen a number of development projects.
It also recently completed the construction of a floating pier and facilities for the reception of fast ferries at the port. It is also underway to examine the options to run the port by the private sector in coordination with the competent authority.
Oman is a country with evolving market for a broad spectrum of businesses. The government through its pro-business legal framework is steadily going for diversification, and also involving the local and international sectors to improve its foreign investments. The Ports are the added-advantage to this already growing economy of Oman.