Unlocking the Sultanate's logistics potential
Malvika Pankaj Khimji, Director, Khimji Ramdas Group
Trends in Oman: Development of green hydrogen
Green Energy is the buzzword of today. With growing requirements for Green Energy across the world, there are multiple opportunities that Oman can benefit from. There are several reports which point to Oman being one of the most suitable locations for both wind and solar energy. The formation of Hydrom and the auction processes that are currently being undertaken point to the distinctive interest from the Government to promote the same. As Khimji Ramdas (KR), we are well-positioned to maximise the In-Country Value (ICV) generated by these projects, by investing in specialised transportation assets and expertise.
Opening up of smaller ports to private investment opportunities
Oman is blessed with a long coastline and a geographically important position. From a perspective of trade as well as tourism, there are multiple opportunities that can be harnessed to bring in investments and business to the Sultanate. Along the coastline of the Sultanate,
there are several smaller ports that are ideal for specific purposes within the cargo logistics and tourism industry. Under the aegis of the Ministry of Transport, there have been ardent efforts to develop the same under a PPP model. KR, being a strategic stakeholder in the industry is actively working with Government agencies to partner, and bring investments to further
In what ways has KR Shipping contributed to the growth of the Sultanate’s logistics sector since it has been identified as one of the key sectors in the Tanfeedh programme for the Sultanate’s economic diversification?
We have been fortunate enough to be an active contributing member for SOLS, Tanfeedh, and Oman Vision 2040. All through these wonderfully productive and enlightening sessions, we and our Senior Management Team at KR have played active roles in contributing to the formation of the policy. Right from providing globally accepted supply chain logistics solutions to retail giants like Procter & Gamble, industrial project solutions for EPC clients, and heavy haulage solutions for oil & energy customers, our shipping business has evolved over the last three decades of its existence. Alongside the developments in services, we have actively engaged with the local community encouraging and hand-holding them as trusted vendors in several of our businesses. Today, we use Omani SMEs for 82% of our distribution services, up from 10% in 2010. We are working with several SMEs, including those in the technology sector, helping them with their strategies and business plans to create profitable business units. We believe that Oman has great potential to be a global distribution centre in the coming decade, and a crucial element for the same is the availability of local expertise. It shall remain our earnest endeavor to bring the local workforce to international standards, by continuous engagement.
The Vision 2040 plan aims to strengthen the logistics sector with
investments in newer logistics hubs. How do you evaluate the potential in
such greenfield developments?
Our vision for Oman Khasab Port draws on Oman’s Vision 2040 blueprint for development.
We believe that apart from the ports, there would also need to be inland dry ports in different Wilayats, which would help ease the logistics flow across the supply chain and provide the shippers and consignees with flexible solutions that suit their requirements. Apart from allowing the shippers and the consignee to concentrate on their core competencies, this also incentivises investment and jobs for the community into trucking, warehousing, and services such as customs clearance and cargo handling. We have the first such facility, Khazaen Dry Port in operation. It is clear that more such possibilities are waiting to be explored.
How has Khimji Ramdas Shipping managed to stay differentiated and hold its ground, in an industry which has seen a lot of turbulence in recent years?
Historically, we have owned and operated dhows, so shipping is in our DNA. KR entered into the shipping arena in the mid-20th Century, to facilitate in-house requirements. In the mid 80s, the unit was spun off. From our modest beginning as a customs clearance service provider, we added vessel agency activities to our portfolio. Today, we are proud to have evolved into a one-stop-shop logistics solutions provider in the Sultanate. Investing in our Team, in Technology, and ensuring we gain the Trust of our internal and external stakeholders through Transparency, has helped us grow into arguably the largest shipping and logistics service provider in the Sultanate. We strongly believe that our 4T’s would give us the power to overcome any turbulence.