Cargo sales are up 27 per cent at Muscat-based Oman Air Cargo this year compared to the same time in 2016.
Senior vice president for commercial cargo, Mohammed Al Musafir (pictured below) says: “Provided this trend continues until the end of December, with all relevant indicators supporting this expectation, we should end up somewhere in the region of 200,000 tons per annum.”
Oman Air Cargo is working to improve cargo services and offerings, and in the process of better defining its special products.
Al Musafir explains the main trade lanes driving business are the Far East, Indian subcontinent and Europe and predominantly India, where it is very strong with 11 online stations.
He adds: “We also believe our new services to Guangzhou, Manchester and Nairobi will be attractive routes for the freight industry, upping our volumes further. We focus on key markets like India where we offer 154 flights per week. We concentrate on connecting India with Europe and Middle East via Muscat along with Asian destinations.”
Oman Air Cargo is looking to add freighters to supplement its growing cargo operations, part of the Sultanate of Oman’s vision, in which logistics is one of the six main focus sectors.
Al Musafir says: “The possibility of adding freighters to our operation will add capacity and further flexibility to better achieve this goal as well as ultimately providing our clients with a better product and service offering. We will be announcing our decision once our market analysis and strategy is finalised.”
The future strategy for growth revolves around three areas – expansion of product and service offerings, the opening of a new 38,000 square metre cargo facility at Muscat International Airport in the first half of 2018 and growing the customer service department.
Al Musafir notes the majority of business is transshipments between continents, but as the Sultanate diversifies away from the oil industry as a major contributor to its GDP, local industries will flourish and exports will rise, leading to natural growth of shipments out of Muscat.
“We always support local businesses and offer specialised services where required, which in turn add value to the country as a whole. We work closely with local fishery companies that have presented Oman’s local product to international markets,” he adds.
He believes demand for air cargo will primarily be driven by time and services offered and with more companies revamping procurement, the need is expected to rise.
Al Musafir adds: “Oman Air Cargo’s strategy is primarily focusing on two core factors ‘Time and Service’. Our main objective is to work on business models that offer added value.”