Freight forwarders specializing in arranging storage and shipping of merchandise on behalf of its shippers are called freight forwarders. They usually provide a full range of services such as tracking inland transportation, preparation of shipping and export documents, booking cargo space, negotiating freight charges, freight consolidation, cargo insurance, and filing of insurance claims. The freight forwarding in Oman has existed for centuries with a history of spice trade with Indian traders. The ports of Oman have long history and have been the centers of trading activities. As majority of edible and manufactured products arrived from countries like India which served as the major partner of trade, the freight forwarding has grown organically in the country. With the discovery of oil and gas in the region, a lot of international companies came over to the Sultanate. The number of international flights (arrivals and departures) at the airports in the Sultanate rose by 11.9% in 2016 totaling 98.3 thousand, compared to 87.9 thousand in the previous year. The Port of Salalah, the largest port in Oman, is centrally located at the crossroads of trade between Asia and Europe. It has over 2.5 billion consumers and it serves the markets of East Africa, Red Sea, Indian Subcontinent and Arabian/Persian Gulf on its doorstep. The port operates both as a container terminal and general cargo terminal. The Oman freight forwarding market has grown from USD ~ Million in 2012 to USD ~ Million in 2017 at a CAGR of ~%. Trade with GCC countries will continue to drive the growth of freight forwarding in the region.
Oman Freight Forwarding Market Segmentation
By Normal and Express Delivery
The normal / standard delivery segment dominated Oman freight forwarding market with the revenue share of ~ % whereas the express delivery segment has only~% in the year 2017. Normal delivery services are generally preferred where there is no urgent requirement for ordered goods. In Oman, majority of the customers prefer the cheapest form of shipping and are witnessed to wait for longer durations. Major companies operating into normal delivery includes DHL, Aramex, GAC Oman, Allied Logistics, Majan Shipping.
By Freight Movement Mode
The Sea freight segment dominated Oman freight forwarding market by capturing the major revenue share of ~% in the year 2017. The country has three major ports Sohar, Salalah and Duqm. The air freight segment followed road freight services in Oman freight forwarding market with ~% of market share. The major air freight in the country is managed by the Muscat International Airport followed by the Salalah Airport. The remaining revenue share was captured by road freight with a market share of ~% in 2017
By Flow Corridors
Asia flow corridor was observed to be the largest contributor in terms of revenue in Oman freight forwarding market by capturing almost half of the revenue share in the year 2017. The Oman-Europe flow corridor followed Oman-Asia in the revenue share percentage with ~% in the year 2017. Other major flow corridor includes the NAFTA countries and GCC countries.
By International and Domestic Companies
International companies operating in Oman freight forwarding market dominated by capturing more than half of the revenue share in the year 2017. Targeted entities for international freight forwarding companies are the international MNCs as such they always seek to make alliances with international freight companies backed by extensive service network and brand image in the market. Most of the international companies follow the asset light model as they don’t keep their own fleet to control the costs.
The Domestic companies although having their own fleet, do not have much foothold in the market. They only capture ~% of the freight forwarding market in 2017.
Oman Freight Forwarding Market Future Outlook And Projections
Oman freight forwarding market is expected to generate revenues worth USD 516 million by the year 2018, driven by growing E-commerce industry, continuous investment by the government in development of logistics infrastructure in Oman and the prevailing optimistic business sentiments in the sultanate
The Oman freight forwarding market is expected to be driven by the rising industrial activities, growing e-commerce industry, rising purchasing power, elevated demand for food, upcoming infrastructural projects and focused investment by the government in development of the industry. The Oman government aims to position the Sultanate as a vital logistics center by 2040 under SOLS 2040 for its strategic logistics positions such as Duqm, Sohar, Salalah, and Muscat, high quality infrastructure, competitiveness and qualified human resources in this sector.
Under the ninth five year plan of the country, the Oman government has planned to reduce the oil dependency of the economy by almost half of what it was at the beginning of the plan in 2016. This move is supported by the Oman Logistics Strategy (OLS 2020) and thus will be a major growth driver for the logistics sector in the country.
Oman's logistics strategy drafted by the experts of Oman Logistics center focuses on four main axes: markets, technology, trade facilitation and human capital. It aims to analyze, identify and monitor opportunities by sector or by where the logistics sector can attract them and undertake projects or activities that enable it to achieve its target share of the shipping market. It also aims for adoption of a clear and intensive marketing policy locally, regionally and internationally.
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Ankur Gupta, Head Marketing & Communications