A decision by the Port of Salalah to commence sea-air freight services from Salalah Airport could seize part of the lucrative market currently held by Dubai, reports the newspaper, Muscat Daily.
Usually shipments from the Far East and South East Asia are transferred on to cargo planes in the Middle East for the final part of the journey to Europe, generally saving approximately two and a half weeks on shipping times.
Dubai has traditionally been the market leader in this regard, with streamlined customs procedures and dedicated sea-air truck docks making container turnaround times as little as six hours.
However, Port of Salalah, CEO, Peter Ford, believes there is potential for the Oman port to capture a slice of the sea-air market.
Ford announced that port officials were already in talks with a company to provide a sea-air service through Salalah Airport.
“The infrastructure for cargo at the airport already exists. It can take large planes, but the market for sea-air services has not been developed. We have just started with some sea-air contracts,” he told the Muscat Daily.
“We are talking to a customer now about doing an average of five containers a day, so over 150 containers a month in sea-air. If that comes through, it will be a good development for Salalah port and airport.”
In order to lure clients, links will need to be improved between the Salalah Free Zone and the airport, the newspaper reports.
Oman already enjoys a strategic location advantage over the UAE with it being the closer option for European bound shipments from the Far East.