This is a high-growth industry sector for the country. A market overview and trade data are included.
The Oman Logistics Strategy outlines long-term goals for increasing the logistics sector's contribution to GDP. Over the last few years, Oman's strategic objectives have centred on reducing congestion and increasing capacity by investing in infrastructure and technology for new ports and road links, as well as expanded routes for national airlines. Oman aspires to become one of the world's top ten logistics hubs by 2040, leveraging its deep-water ports on the Gulf of Oman and the Indian Ocean.
Oman's seven commercial ports are all state-owned. Sohar in the north, Duqm in the centre of the country's coastline, and Salalah in the south are all deep-water ports. All three deep-water ports are operated under concessions by joint ventures of the government and foreign private companies, and they connect to 86 ports in 40 countries. The strategic port town of Duqm, located on the Indian Ocean halfway between Muscat and Salalah, is Oman's flagship development project. Duqm now has a new port, a naval base, a dry dock, a fisheries hub, an industrial free zone, hotels, power and desalination plants, an oil tank storage terminal, and a nearly finished refinery. The government also intends to construct a rail line to facilitate the transfer of mineral resources from the Shweimiyah area to the rest of the country.
Another major focus of domestic and regional development is road construction. The government plans to open a new road through the Empty Quarter in December 2021, connecting Riyadh to Muscat and other major Omani cities, including Duqm and other Omani ports. Oman is constantly working to expand its bus and private taxi systems. Oman will open a dry port at Khazaen Economic City, a 20-square-mile logistics-led development outside of Muscat that will include a free zone, an automobile market, and factories, in December 2021. The national bus and ferry networks are also being considered for privatisation by the government.
As part of Oman's strategy to expand routes and designations, Oman authorised Jet Blue to begin code-share service to Oman with Emirates Airlines in 2022. Oman Air, the Sultanate's flag carrier, signed a codeshare agreement with Qatar Airways in 2021, providing flights to the United States via Doha. Salam Air, Oman's first budget airline, has expanded its regional routes. Muscat International Airport in Oman opened in March 2018. The passenger terminal at Duqm Airport opened in September 2018, with plans to add regional and international routes in the future. Salalah and Sur airports in Oman also serve international destinations.
Oman's strategic location on the Strait of Hormuz, as well as its deep-water ports on the Gulf of Oman and the Indian Ocean beyond the Strait, are key selling points as its logistics infrastructure expands and connectivity improves. Oman appears to be emerging from budget constraints that forced it to postpone several large infrastructure projects in 2022.
The Duqm Special Economic Zone Authority and the Port of Duqm are actively seeking foreign investment to assist in development financing. Duqm requires infrastructure development in sewage treatment, drainage, water desalination, power plants, buildings, telecommunication services, and landscaping in addition to the massive array of construction projects. Asyad built its first new ship at Duqm's dry dock in July 2021, which also provides ship repair and maintenance services. Saudi Arabia is contemplating the establishment of an industrial zone in Duqm. The Duqm refinery project provides opportunities for transportation and logistics. Oman's two established ports, Sohar and Salalah, offer significant opportunities as well. Sohar's free zone has been at the vanguard of Oman's downstream manufacturing expansion.
Salalah is strategically located at the crossroads of East-West shipping, with weekly connections to and from the East Coast of the United States. Its port has a container terminal with seven berths with draughts of up to 18 metres and a general cargo terminal with 12 berths with draughts of up to 16 metres, with infrastructure to handle the world's largest container vessels, as well as bulk cargo, bunkering, and warehousing.
Oman is increasingly seeking private sector investment and expertise, particularly to expand its project pipeline through joint ventures or public-private partnerships (PPPs). The government will also rely on PPPs to operate the four terminals at the Port of Duqm for containers, general cargo, bulk goods, and liquids, as well as in the development of ports at Khasab and Shinas in the north. The government intends to use a public-private partnership (PPP) model to transform Port Sultan Qaboos into a mixed-use waterfront cruise and leisure destination.