Oman National Transport Company (Mwasalat) is launching with the National Ferries Company (NFC) new line connecting the mainland with the sea in a first step between them, starting from 24th August 2017.


There will be four weekly "back and forth" trips at different times and with a duration of the trip not exceeding the length of the journey currently taking by the ferry from Muscat to Khasab, in addition to the fact that this route will provide flexibility to start or end the trip in other cities in the Sultanate without incurring additional costs or means.

Eng. Abdulrahman bin Salim al-Hatami, CEO of Asyad said that launching this service is an important step and is a culmination of efforts to develop the logistics sector in the Sultanate and create innovative opportunities that add value to its activities and create integrated solutions for logistics at the local level, as well as linking them to the global level.

He added that in this regard, the new route has become necessary because of the low number of users on the current (Muscat - Khasab) route and the high cost of financial support for it.

Mahdi bin Mohammed al-Abdawani, CEO of NFC said that the new route is an important step to facilitate access to the Governorate of Musandam by linking the land and sea services of the two companies.

He added that this route will contribute to enhancing the Sultanate's logistics services in a manner that makes it a global position to achieve the vision that works for all. He added that the Muscat-Khasab route will be replaced by this one and the company will assess the situation and study the possibility of providing low cost operation ferry in (Muscat-Khasab) in the future.

 

Ahmed bin Ali al-Balushi, CEO of Mwasalat said that the new route is a continuation of the efforts made by the company to provide the service and facilitate it for its customers. It also confirms the efforts to connect logistics services and unite them to achieve the global vision, so that the Sultanate become a global centre in these services.

 

He added that the new route is expected to attract a turnout by the beneficiaries as it serves them by land and sea, which will give added value to the company and the Omani economy through the long-term perspective.

 



 Mwasalat and National Ferries Company ( NFC ) will enter into pact for seamless travel on the Muscat-Shinas-Khasab land and sea routes.


An official with Mwasalat said, “We are in the process of entering into a partnership with NFC. The chief executive officers of both companies are negotiating the finer points of the pact. Lots of issues need to be addressed before finalising the pact including the ticket prices, timings of the service and operation days amongst others.”

A tweet from NFC and Mwasalat stated, “From the bus to the ferry. Let’s go to Khasab. Muscat-Shinas-Khasab route (sic).”

As part of the agreement, Mwasalat buses will facilitate passenger movement till Shinas from where NFC runs ferry service on the Shinas-Dibba-Khasab route

 

NFC is a key contributor to the maritime transport in Oman. Oman’s long coastline makes NFC service a necessity for citizens and tourists alike. NFC vessels carried 108,628 passengers in the first half of 2017 compared to 99,871 in the same period of last year, recording a nine per cent growth rate.

Meanwhile, Mwasalat carried more than 2.2mn passengers between January 1 and June 30 this year compared to 1.4mn in the same period last year. It carried on an average more than 12,000 passengers per day this year compared to more than 8,000 in the same period of 2016.




Re-tendering: Food stores supply and delivery


The number of passengers using the services of the National Ferries Company (NFC)

stood at 108,628 during the first half of 2017 compared to 99,871 in the same period last year,

recording a 9% growth rate.

Read more: Ferries carry over 108,000 passengers and 27,000 vehicles

State-owned coastal maritime transportation services provider National Ferries Company (NFC) has urged Omani businesses to make the most of its world-class, high-speed ferries to enhance trade and commercial links with destinations along its expanding network.  The appeal came at a forum held under the patronage of Dr Ahmed bin Mohammed al Futaisi, Minister of Transport and Communications, at the Cultural Club in Qurum on Monday night. A panel discussion on Public Transport featured representatives from Mwasalat, National Ferries, and the Ministry of Transport and Communications.


The deliberations, moderated by well-known Omani journalist Yusuf al Hooti, underscored the importance of enhanced engagement with the business community and general population with the aim of supporting the optimum utilisation of the nation’s public transport infrastructure.
Later in comments to the Observer, Mehdi bin Mohammed al Abduwani (pictured), CEO — National Ferries Company, lamented the tepid uptake of the company’s high-speed coastal ferries primarily by the private sector in the delivery of goods and services to markets serviced by NFC.
NFC-owned and operated ferries currently serve as many as seven ports and towns along the Omani coast, as well as operate to three destinations across the Hormuz Strait in Iran, notably Qeshm Island, Bandar Abbas and Chabahar Port.
The latter destinations, which connect with Khasab in Musandam Governorate on the Omani side, were added last year amid heightened expectations that the cross-border ferry services would contribute to enhanced coastal trade and maritime links.
“These three important ports in Iran were added last year in the face of significant challenges, including international sanctions in force at the time, high insurance costs, and so on,” said Al Abduwani. “But we succeeded in overcoming these challenges because of the potential for trade in goods and services across the border. After all, Iran is a big market and an important source, for among other things, the supply of vegetables and foodstuff. But unfortunately, we don’t see much of an uptake from traders, business people or even small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in making the most of NFC’s ferry services to these destinations,” he noted.

“National Ferries wants to emphasise that there is ample unutilised capacity on our ferries, subsidised by the government, that is available to Omani businesses and organisations to make good use of. We are calling for the optimum utilisation of these services,” the CEO stressed.
“We deployed ample capacity, particularly between Muscat and Musandam, in response to calls from the private sector for these services. But honestly, we don’t see significant demand from the commercial sector for the delivery of goods and services,” he further explained.
In contrast, however, passenger demand for its ferry services continues to grow by leaps and bounds, according to Al Abduwani. Since it launched operations in 2008, more than 220,000 people have travelled on its modern fleet, the vast proportion on the Shannah-Masirah route. In fact, this busy sector generates around 80 – 82 per cent of total passenger demand, according to the CEO, noting that the company is on track to surpassing the 250,000 passenger throughput mark before the end of this year.
 
 
 
Also in NFC’s sights is a possible three-way, triangular service that links Musandam Governorate with
Iran, on the one hand, and destinations in the United Arab Emirates, on the other.
“We are still in discussion with authorities in the UAE in this regard, with either Ras Al Khaimah or Dubai being the intended port of call,” said Al Abduwani.
“Where Dubai is concerned, the issue is not so much to do with berth availability and so on, but with the physical specs of our ferries. As our vessels are made of aluminium, they require special berthing and pontoon facilities to be handled at Dubai. We are hoping after the Eid holiday to visit Khasab and also to meet with the Ras Al Khaimah Port authorities (to further this objective),” he added.