The air cargo unit of Oman Air, the sultanate’s national carrier, has embarked on devising competitive logistic service criteria to global standards.
This comes after the refurbishment of the air cargo unit of Muscat International Airport’s Cargo Service Building. With an area of 22,000sq m and an annual reception capacity of 350,000 tonnes of goods, the new facility will serve as a modern warehouse that will enhance the airport’s performance.
The new air cargo hub will accommodate 734 multi-level loading containers and 2,208 mobile chutes, besides goods transport vehicles fitted with hydraulic cranes.
The facility also has gates that provide for the simultaneous loading of three cargo planes and 25 outlets that accommodate 40ft and 20ft cargo vehicles, along with a 400-car parking lot and a 34 heavy vehicle parking space.
This is in addition to a 2,500sq m livestock centre and 228sq m chambers for high-risk goods. The air cargo unit comes in complementation of the sultanate’s overall strategy for revamping the logistics sector, said Mohammed bin Ali al Musafir, senior VP, Commercial Cargo, Oman Air.
He noted that the government has been working to lay down the basic brick for the cargo sector, albeit by setting up a modern cargo building that serves as a wide façade for the service. The company has been liaising with the departments concerned to develop air and air cargo with a view to reaching a total volume of 500,000 tonnes by 2040, he added.
Musafir pointed out that Oman Air plays a major role, making an ideal use of its fleet of 55 aircraft, and noted that West Asia, Europe, Indian Ocean countries and Sri Lanka are the main air cargo destinations of Oman Air.
Market competition in 2016 indicates that cargo volumes increased by 30 per cent to 40 per cent, said Musafir, noting that ideal use of air cargo capacity in aircrafts and an increase in flights and Oman Air destinations helped multiply revenues between 2016 and 2019.
As many as 48 agents represent Oman Air around the world, said Musafir, adding that Oman Air as the national carrier uses the services of some countries to maximise its global coverage.
He explained that Oman Air is bound by agreements with 80 airlines that provide such services, and that a study is under way to purchase air cargo planes that will serve alongside chartered air cargo planes.
Musafir stressed the significance of electronic trade which, he said, undergoes continuous development and it relies on goods of light sizes and weights being exported to consumers across the globe. The number of users of e-business witnesses a steady growth, said Musafir, adding that ‘smart cargo’ is a system of operations serves as a platform for selling activities and is being increasingly used by agents at a global level. It is known by importers as the ‘air compass’.