TBY talks to Mahmood Sakhi Al Balushi, CEO of Al Madina Logistics (AMLS), on new projects and the government's logistics strategy.

Mahmood Sakhi Al Balushi
Mahmood Sakhi Al Balushi serves as the CEO of AMLS and CEO of Muscat Container Depot. AMLS is now the leading logistics provider in Oman. It has the leading best distribution center in Oman certified with ISO22000. With the leadership of Albalushi, AMLS has been able to lead the way in the quality logistics facilities and services in Oman, and to develop and operate the first and only Dry Port in Oman. As the local economy continues to grow, AMLS is planning additional logistics centers in various regions in Oman.

What are some of the new projects that AMLS has been focusing on over the past year and what additional business will this bring for the company?

The plan by the government is to focus more on the logistics industry. The international relationship we have with many countries puts us in a position to be a vital player for the logistics supply chain. Last year we focused on this initiative, and one of our major projects was to complete the link between Salalah's port and airport. Part of this facility is being serviced by CFS, which is a container station and the only one in Oman. Mainly we are serving airports, but we are expanding into other areas as well. This is in addition to our normal third-party logistics.

How would you assess the expansion of your services in Oman over the past year?

This year we are doing very well, and we have already expanded well with the port in Sohar. We are serving crucial areas. With manufacturing coming, we are focusing on freight and export costs especially with the raw materials that they get in with the imports. We can manage the warehouses for better manufacturing efficiency. This is an area that we are focusing more on in Sohar. Our operations are doing well in Salalah, where our focus is still on local businesses with the free zone and the port. We have tried to work on being a link between the port and the airport in the section. Duqm and Salalah are our main focuses, and we will be focusing on oil and gas services primarily in Duqm.

One of the most important aspects to support logistics in Oman is developing links with all of the major transport segments. What is AMLS' expertise in ensuring connectivity?

Our expertise has ensured that we are already doing that now, and our logistics provides a full supply chain. We provide freight transportation, warehousing, and so on. We have our own assets in house so we are not only a service provider. We have done it first through connecting the Sohar airport to Muscat, and we reduced traffic through connecting Muscat to the airport cargo. This year we are working on doing the same thing with some border clients who want to export through Salalah airport. We are putting this link into operation, and it is going well so far. We are working with Saudi Arabia and mostly with the UAE. We are trying to develop this area, through the Dubai and the Sharjah airports. We can bring the goods here and re export through our airport.

Can you highlight some of the ways in which AMLS will contribute to the government's new logistics strategy?

The main areas in the new logistics strategies that can be highlighted are human resources, technology, IT, marketing, and trade facilitation. Within all of these we are looking at areas of focus to tell the government the right way to go. Trade facilitation needs to be efficient in order to apply and get permission or else no one will come. The same goes for IT because the business sector has to have connectivity or else no one will come to you. Human resources take time because it is a new sector. Marketing is also relatively new but we have to have the resources and technology in place to do that. Marketing gives us value back, and we are looking at facilities that are completely technology based and transparent so that clients can track their goods. Every process can be tracked from a smartphone, and this IT support is important for these services. The government must give its approval for certain vessels, and the authorities are working on that as part of their strategy in order to increase efficiency. All international investors want these things to ensure ease of business and connectivity.