MEED Oman Projects Forum told sultanate will benefit from radical change in Arabian supply chain

Al Bustan Palace, Oman. 28 October 2014. The development of the GCC railway linking Oman with Kuwait plus new high-quality roads across Arabia will allow the sultanate to recover its historic role as gateway to the peninsula, the MEED Oman Projects Forum was told today.

Oman is anticipating the completion of the project later this decade by investing in and promoting three major ports on Oman’s coastline: the Port of Salalah, which already handles 3.5m containers a year, mainly for transhipment; Sohar Port, which has started receiving all commercial cargos previously handled by Port Sultan Qaboos since the end of August and the Port of Duqm, where commercial port operations started in 2013.

The Omani section of the GCC railway is being developed by the Oman Railway Company (ORC). It has floated the pre-qualification tender for the 170-kilometre first part of the project which will link Buraimi on the border with Abu Dhabi. Later sections will connect Salalah and Duqm.

Work on the first phase is expected to start in 2015. The Oman railway will be 2,244 kilometres long when it is completed.

Speakers at the conference said the project will allow Oman to recover its position as the sea gateway to Arabia which it has lost to other ports in Arabia, notably Dubai. “In 30-50 years, the three ports in Oman will overtake Dubai and Abu Dhabi combined,” said Al Safwa Group & Partners executive director Warith Al Kharusi. He said that Oman is also well-positioned to develop separate sea-routes from Oman to Iran, Pakistan, India and East Africa.

Speakers said that the railway is part of the most radical shift in Arabia’s supply chain pattern since oil was discovered in the peninsula in 1932.

“Oman for has been seen as the place where Arabia ends,” said Sohar & Free Zone executive commercial manager Edwin Lammers. “We are now in an era when people will say Oman is where Arabia starts.”


Sponsors of MEED Oman Projects Forum

Oman Development Bank is SME financial partner. AECOM is bronze sponsor. Drake & Scull International and Hill International are conference sponsors. Al Madina Insurance, Acciona and EHAF are exhibiting. Rotary Engineering is lanyard sponsor. Networking sponsors are Galfar and Sarooj.