Wednesday, January 26
12:02 AM

Road to prosperity


Oman-Saudi road to boost economic activity on both sides

Muscat – Oman and Saudi Arabia inaugurated the Rub al Khali (Empty Quarter) road and two border posts connecting the two countries on Wednesday.

The 725km road will ease movement between the two countries and contribute to the integration of supply chains which will help achieve economic integration between the two.

Following the inauguration, many in Oman who Muscat Daily spoke with hailed the development.

Khalfan al Touqi, an economic analyst, said, “The road is of strategic importance and has many benefits. It will achieve immediate gains, such as an increase in the number of pilgrims and the volume of trade exchange between Oman and Saudi Arabia, and encourage the private sector to establish businesses along the border. Additionally, it will facilitate the establishment of integrated service areas, hotels and rest houses which will be a boon for the local economy.”

According to Touqi, the road will also encourage Saudi Arabia to set up an oil pipeline across the border to Duqm for export to Asian and African countries.

Nasser al Mabsali, director general of Ibri Industrial City (Madayn), described the road opening as “very important for the movement of individuals and commercial exchange”.

He informed that the proximity of Ibri Industrial City to Saudi Arabia is an important opportunity for Saudi investors to come and learn about the investment opportunities in the city.
He explained that Ibri Industrial City is currently being prepared to attract investments from the Saudi side. “The Empty Quarter port will contribute to creating economic mobility in Ibri Industrial City and Dhahirah governorate, in particular, and the sultanate in general.”

Ibri Industrial City offers many incentives to attract investors, such as exemption from rentals for two years, reducing rents for three years, speedy issuance of permits and other procedures.

For businessman Najeeb al Balushi, this is an exciting time and an opportunity for businesses. “The road provides a chance to promote Omani goods in Saudi Arabia, while stimulating tourism in Oman. It offers scope for great commercial exchange between the two countries in several sectors, including fisheries which is in much demand in the Saudi market.”

Nasser al Hosni, director of the Happy Line of Transport, said that the opening of the Empty Quarter border post is a great step to facilitate the smooth entry and exit of goods that will result in invigorating the economies of the two countries.

“The road will help revitalise the Duqm region to be a global hub for export of oil and other goods in the future and encourage the establishment of railways for trade exchange between Gulf states and export of their products to other countries,” said Hosni.

Sultan al Rawahi, a citizen, said, “We thank God for this. It will help people go for pilgrimage, both Umrah and Hajj. The road will create job opportunities for many. I will look into setting up services along the way, such as fuel stations and hotels.”

According to Saeed bin Ali al Yahyahi, director of Roads Department in Dhahirah governorate, four investment areas have been allocated on the Omani side of the Empty Quarter road – covering a distance of 161km from the Ibri roundabout to the Rub al Khali checkpoint – with the aim of establishing integrated service areas such as petrol stations and hotels.

ROP starts operations at Rub al Khali border post

Royal Oman Police started operations at the Rub al Khali border checkpoint as part of the Omani-Saudi desert highway’s security management system.

The border checkpoint has high-tech facilities designed to streamline traffic and related services (passport and residency) for travellers entering and exiting the country. Visas and immigration procedures will be processed speedily at open service halls.

The checkpoint also provides customs clearance services, including digitised inspection of exports and imports.

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