Panalpina is establishing its presence in Oman, leveraging the company’s long-standing experience in project solutions and the energy sector.
The freight forwarder said the move will also help support the country’s burgeoning economic and infrastructural growth.
Panalpina has completed the registration of Panalpina Oman with a minority shareholding partner – the Daoud Group, a family-owned Omani business conglomerate. Panalpina’s office in the capital Muscat is expected to open by the end of the third quarter in 2019.
Oman has become almost synonymous with the oil and gas sector, which has driven its economy since commercial production began in the late 1960’s. It produces about 900,000 barrels of oil per day, which account for about four-fifths of government revenue.
While oil and gas dominate exports, Oman also derives earnings from the export of dates and from tourism. Its major imports include motor vehicles, technical equipment, computer hardware and software, consumer products, textiles and foodstuffs.
Panalpina said the government is aiming to diversify the economy and is focusing on agriculture, fisheries, tourism, mining, public utilities and manufacturing. Together with a growing number of large infrastructure projects and its transhipment hub for Qatar, Oman is fast becoming the latest business hotspot within the Middle East region.
Riding on that economic growth, Panalpina is establishing its presence in Oman utilising its experience in handling large-scale and complex major moves for energy and capital infrastructure projects.
The forwarder said Oman also has distinct advantages as a transhipment hub for Qatar, unlike some of its Middle East counterparts like Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Bahrain who cut diplomatic and economic ties with Qatar between 5-6 June 2017.
Panalpina’s country manager for Qatar, Kuwait and Oman, Charles Francis said: “Oman has become a pivotal geographical location for cargo flows to and from Qatar. Unlike some of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries Oman has not introduced economic sanctions and its trade with Qatar has increased by more than three times since the embargo started two years ago.”
Panalpina’s operations in Oman were previously handled by an agent. Panalpina Oman will now cover core activities in air freight, ocean freight and customs clearance.