Omani logistics project to begin by end of 2014

An Omani official has revealed that the country will start work on the 90km² South Batinah Logistics Hub by the end of this year.

Ahmed al Azkawi, project director of the Supreme Council of Planning, which is overseeing the implementation of this initiative, told Oman Daily Observer that development of the project could last over 15 years.

“The project is steadily moving forward with initial phases to be constructed in 2014 and the remaining phases currently undergoing a comprehensive study. Full development of the logistics hub will be completed by 2030,” said al Azkawi.

South Batinah Logistics Hub is a strategic initiative by the Omani government to kick-start the growth of a logistics-based economic sector in the Sultanate and will include Oman’s first ever inland port. The project will also feature dedicated zones earmarked for multimodal connectivity, light industries, value adding activities, commercial services, warehousing and logistics, urban and residential developments, hotels and convention centres, and leisure areas.

“Planned within this area is an inland port, which will be the first of its kind in Oman. An inland port is essentially a port but located inland away from the sea, but it has many advantages. You can create economic corridors between the seaport and the inland port,” said al Azkawi.

Development of the project is planned in phases, according to the official. In Phase 0, the focus of developmental activity will be on the inland portand early warehousing facilities.

“In addition to a customs office, we also expect a number of facilities, such as bonded warehousing, to be provided, while other incentives are under discussion,” al Azkawi said.

Phase 1 envisages investments in a range of commercial and industrial activities, followed by residential developments and hotels. Al Azkawi said that, based on market demand, new areas within the hub can be opened up for future development.

“The goal is to build a state-of-the-art facility, which offers one-stop-shop services to logistics providers and customers, and thereby promote Oman as a gateway to the region,” he added.

South Batinah’s location close to the population centres of the Batinah and Muscat governorates is expected to spawn industrial, commercial, residential, hospitality and other economic activities all around the hub.