ALWAYS FREIGHT, NEVER LATE

Oman 2014 | TRANSPORT | VIP INTERVIEW

TBY talks to Mahmood Sakhi Al Balushi, CEO of Al Madina Logistic Services Company, on developing a full package of logistics services and the benefits of being in Oman.

How has Al Madina Logistics developed and evolved over the past six years?

The company is considered young compared to well-established logistics companies, but we have a very clear aim to be among the top leaders of third-party logistics provision. We have studied all the best practices around the world that provide the best logistics services in terms of performance, facilities, and equipment. We reviewed the same with our consulting engineers to design and build one of the best world-class distribution facilities in Oman. As a third-party logistics company, we provide full supply chain services that include freight services, transportation, warehousing, a container yard, and much more. Our shipping and freight-forwarding department has extensive local coverage and a global network with leading shipping and freight-forwarding companies. The transport department has a complete fleet of trucks that can handle and transport any kind of goods. One of the main features is a trailer that has an in-built crane to load and unload containers by itself. We also have special trailers that extend up to 21 meters in length. Furthermore, we have a connection with international heavy-lift firms that have capabilities to transport 5,000 tons of equipment. All of our trucks are equipped with GPS and IVMS systems to track all movement and monitor truck performance. The warehouses are operated with world-class inventory management systems that manage each client's products. It has full capabilities to manage various product types such as food, electronics, pharmaceuticals, and more.

Have you seen demand rise in recent years?

Oman enjoys continuous growth in all business sectors. This has supported the rise in the demand for other services such as logistics. Despite the financial crisis around the world, GCC countries were able to sustain growth trends, especially Oman. The government has increased the budgets of new infrastructure projects, and all these need logistics support. We try to provide quality and unique services that guarantee high standards, especially for food products, as we sustain high-quality temperature control up to -25° Celsius. All of our trucks are equipped with temperature-control chips to monitor the supply chain and maintain the correct rate.

“To provide the best supply chain solutions, we have to have an excellent international network."

With regards to ports, is sea-to-air-to-road logistics a big opportunity for you?

Yes. With Oman having a very strategic location, the opportunities are great. Salalah Port is already receiving direct calls from the main shipping lines, and Sohar Port has also started to get direct calls. Port Sultan Qaboos is still getting feeder ships that are coming from UAE ports and others. With six new airports, especially the ones in Muscat, Salalah, and Sohar, as well as the new expressways and future railway project, the Sultanate has great outlook for connectivity in a more economical way.

Efficiency is very important for ports. How does Al Madina Logistic Services Company help in this regard?

All Omani ports have excellent infrastructure and equipment. Efficiency is a very important part of the success of these ports. What is lacking is the efficient management and smooth operational system. Along with high fees being charged by the ports, unfortunately we see more and more shipping lines using neighboring ports.

How important is your international network?

To provide the best supply chain solutions, we have to have an excellent international network. With such connections, we can provide the best logistics solution to our clients in terms of quality of service, the timeline for deliveries, and dependability at the best competitive prices. Hence, the network connections are very critical for a business such as ours. We also act the same way for our international partners as we facilitate their needs in the local market.

How do you rate the regulatory environment in Oman?

The regulatory system is improving and currently the government issues special licenses for customs clearing staff. Most of the customs clearing operations are very simple and clear, which saves a lot of time in the process of clearing goods. The Supreme Council for Planning is developing master plans for various logistics hubs in Oman, and one that is being currently studied is the South Batinah Logistics Hub, which would boost logistics operations in Oman.

© The Business Year - November 2013