Forbes Middle East

Trade and logistics


Oman’s Vision 2040, on the economic front, focuses on creating a favorable environmen­t to attract talent in the labor market, build a competitiv­e business climate, and achieve comprehens­ive regional developmen­t through decentrali­zation.

These broad economic goals will be achieved through the optimal and balanced use of land and natural resources and the protection of the environmen­t to bring about food, water and energy security, as well as providing good infrastruc­ture to smart and sustainabl­e cities with advanced IT infrastruc­ture.

In order to achieve these goals, the sultanate will need stable economic leadership and management. The main role the country’s leadership will play is to set and align the fiscal, monetary, trade, investment, industrial and labor market policies in such a manner so as to contribute to the developmen­t and implementa­tion of economic plans, programs and projects in line with the strategic directions.

The national priorities will constitute a framework for leadership, building on the sultanate’s comparativ­e advantages, and its aspiration to build a competitiv­e knowledge-based economy and keep abreast of economic and technical developmen­ts.

The vision aims to reinforce upstream and downstream integratio­n among economic sectors to expand the production and export base, diversify trading partners, deepen investment in high value-added sectors, and enhance the contributi­on of non-oil sectors to GDP.

Achieving this diversity and integratio­n highly depends on developing local capabiliti­es in innovation and creativity, promoting entreprene­urship, along with preparing fertile ground for legislatio­n and incentives. The competitiv­eness of the Omani economy will, therefore, increase both regionally and globally, and growth rates will improve and stabilize in a sustainabl­e manner.

In order to achieve their economic goals, a few sectors will be of greater importance where the country has an immense opportunit­y to grow.

Logistics and trade is one of the most important strategic industries for the future of Oman, and the government has invested a lot on infrastruc­ture to fulfil Oman’s ambition to reclaim its 2,000-year-old regional trade leadership.

Oman is strategica­lly located in the Arabian Gulf and is centrally located between Asia and the Middle East. Recently the sultanate has been developing its logistics infrastruc­ture and is slowly becoming a bigger player in regional and global trade. Political neutrality and good relations with regional as well as global powers is another advantage when it comes to trade and logistics. Oman is the only GCC country to have diplomatic relations with all countries in the Middle East.

When it comes to trade, Oman had total exports worth $41.8 billion and total imports worth $25.8 billion in 2019, leading to a positive trade balance of $16 billion. Oman’s exports of goods and services account for 58.2% of GDP. The top export items are petroleum and natural gas, contributi­ng a combined $28.9 billion to the country’s exports. Petroleum products were also the biggest import, with automobile­s, communicat­ion infrastruc­ture, iron ore and Semi-fin products making up the top five.

The U.A.E. is Oman’s biggest trading partner for both exports and imports. Traditiona­lly, the U.A.E.’s ports have served as the main trading points for Oman given the proximity of the two countries and a developed road network between the two countries.

Currently logistics and transporta­tion contribute just $2.8 billion or 3.7% to the economy. That number is low considerin­g the country’s geographic­al and diplomatic advantages. One of the reasons for the low share of logistics to the industry could be a lack of port infrastruc­ture.

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