National plan soon for transport sector


The ministry has already set August 31 as the last date for commercial ships coming to the Sultan Qaboos Port. Photo – Talib Al Wahaibi/Times of Oman

Muscat: The Ministry of Transport and Communications, in association with the Supreme Committee for Town Planning and other public and private sector organisations, will formulate a comprehensive short term as well as long term national strategy for the transport sector.

The short-term plan will be up to 2020, while the long-term strategy will be up to 2040. The ports, airports, railways and various other projects in different areas of the country will be taken into consideration while preparing the transport strategy, the top officials from the Ministry of Transport and Communications told the media here yesterday.

The strategy will be focused on a clearly formulated public transport model in the country. The ministry will carry out a comprehensive study with the help of other organisations related to public transport and will come up with clear and progressive ideas to be implemented in Oman in a particular timeframe.

More private sector and public sector areas would be identified in the transport sector including aviation, port, railways for their development. The ministry is well informed about the issues related to the developments in the sector due to the country's geographical positioning.

The ministry will also award work for implementing a railway line from Buraimi to Sohar, which is part of the national railway, by the end of 2014.

The ministry also intends to continue to work on the ongoing projects and finish these.

Similarly, the ministry has already set August 31 as the last date for commercial ships coming to the Sultan Qaboos Port. At the same time, it is intended to complete the designing process of the port for tourism purpose. It is also working to complete the Khasab port and develop the Shinas port in North Batinah.

Salalah port
In the World Economic Forum report last year, Oman was at the third position internationally in terms of quality of roads. Salalah port claimed 18th position in the list of the best international ports.

Similarly, it bagged the sixth position in the area of shipping and re-export of cargo and containers and third position when it came to ports in the Middle East and Africa region.

Till the end of 2013, Omani ports had registered an import and export volume of around 22 million tonnes of cargo. Till the end of December, Omani ports had handled over four million tonnes of containers.

Similarly, passenger travel at the Muscat International Airport reached eight million, while Salalah airport handled 740,000 passengers by the end of 2013. Air cargo activity at the Muscat International Airport reached 110,000 tonnes.

The ministry implemented the 12,837km road project.

Some of the roads opened last year included the 87-km Hasik-Shuwaimia road, 62km Eidem-Hroweb road in Dhofar, a part of the intersection of Ibri-Draiz and Maskan road in Dhahira, Barka bridge, other intersections and bridges in Batinah. Last year, the ministry also set-up an Omani company for developing the railway project.

The ministry also opened the Duqm port to handle heavy cargo and containers. The process to convert the Sultan Qaboos Port into a tourist port was also kicked off. Similarly, the process to convert the Shinas port into an economic centre was also started .

There were considerable achievements in the airport project too. Along with other related works, runways at all the airports at Muscat, Sohar and Duqm were also completed. Work on Salalah and Ras Al Hadd airport runways is soon to be completed.

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