LOCAL CONTRACTORS

Oman 2020 | DUQM | INTERVIEW

By increasing their capabilities and quality of services, local contractors will not only win more business but also help Oman reduce its reliance on international players.

Salim Suleym Al Junaibi Khalid Al Jasmi

What is your approach to localization and adding value to the Omani business environment?
SALIM SULEYM AL JUNAIBI Al Ghalbi International seeks to capitalize on our years of experience in Oman, but also to learn from other countries. We are keen to share our knowledge with some international companies and also work for some other as an agency in Oman. Al Ghalbi started as a small company, and step by step we increased our capabilities and quality of services, positioning ourselves as a key player in the industry. In terms of capabilities, we seek to maintain all our operations in-house, including design. This localization approach will help not only our company, but also the whole country to reduce its reliance on international players and services, while at the same time raising the level of our employees. In 1998, when we started operations, there were five employees; today, we have around 760. We want everyone who works for us to feel like they are part of one team. Placing employees at the heart of our organization led to where we are today, and we plan on keeping this strategy in the future.

What is required to reach the standard where Oman is competitive and has a fully integrated supply chain from raw materials to export?
KHALID AL JASMI First, we need excellent planning and need to gather all the information required to determine what materials can be produced for multiple industries and stakeholders to save costs. This will lead to the creation of a new industry that can cater to the demands of different sectors. Then, we need a commitment from these sectors to buy from that new industry. We also need to ensure the costs are low enough to bring competitive prices. Our market is around 5%, which is low. Recently, the US-China trade war affected the price of steel, and it was being dumped in other countries, though not in Oman. That means it is reflecting back on us. Globalization makes the world like a small village because developments in other countries can affect us and we cannot do anything about it. That is where one is cornered and has to go with losses.

How is your future strategy aligned with Vision 2040?
SSAJ Oil will continue to play an important role in Oman's economy for years to come, but it will require new technologies, which we have already started adopting, such as Oxy Free, which we have brought from the UK. It decreases pipe corrosion, prolonging the lifespan of pipes by more than 20 years. We are setting up four more companies under the Al Ghalbi umbrella. One of these companies will be a global company, part of which is a big factory in Oman called Duqm Salt. We have already secured contracts until 2030 with Occidental, PDO, and Halliburton and have started production. We also established a transport company called Al Kadara. We have built two camps and a motel for the staff. We will provide everything including food, service, laundry, Wi-Fi, and TV. In 2020, we are focusing on Duqm and building a 20,000-sqm, five-star hotel there. Everything is in order; we are expecting to find suitable investors and enter the construction phase in the near future. We will later gain approval to use a 30,000-sqm space in Duqm port to build a warehouse. One of the items we plan to store there is salt. Given the scale of the project, we will employ state-of-the-art systems and technologies to ensure efficiency.

What does it mean for Triangle Engineering to be innovative and remain ahead of the curve to jump on the next economic cycle?
KAJ We have been working on an ERP system to reduce our headcount. We have also considered going into automation, as manufacturing and manpower is costly. As such, we have been approaching different companies to bring robotics. Currently, we are still not utilizing around 50% of our capacity in terms of the assets and manpower, so there is no justification to go for robotics. As for sourcing, we are looking at different markets and where we can go to the source long term. The long-term strategy would be to produce on our own instead of sourcing.