Good roads, overall transportation infrastructure, and uninterrupted connectivity are the backbone of trade in the world. This is the reason why all global powers are redefining their transport infrastructure by building various architectural and engineering marvels. Be it bridges across the mountains or rivers, tunnels through treacherous landscapes, or constructing roads across shifting dunes, these connecting dots are redefining how the world does business across borders. And one such marvel is Oman-Saudi Direct Desert Carriageway that is sure to empower the logistics trade in the GCC region giving logistics companies in Oman a much-needed impetuous. This carriageway will ensure that the trade and tourism between the two countries are enhanced apart from cutting down transportation costs, import-export freighting, and improve the road freight services in Sohar
The carriageway starts at Tan’am roundabout in the Wilayat of Ibri in Oman and goes up till the area of Ramlat Khailah towards the Saudi border. This amazing road cuts through the shifting dunes of Rub Al Khali (The Empty Quarter) and is expected to cut down the travel time by around 12 hours and reducing the overall distance by 800 km. This is remarkable for all kinds of trade and business intersections in the area as it will not only speed up the entire process but will reduce the transportation cost since the distance has been almost halved. But just like any other engineering marvel in such tough landscapes, the Oman-Saudi Carriageway has also seen its share of hurdles. The project that was supposed to complete in 2014, took six years extra to reach its ultimate end. And now that it’s nearing completion, there is palpable excitement in the cargo services providers in Oman as it is sure to make doing business across the borders a lot easier. At a time when cost-cutting is one of the major roadblocks that most businesses are facing, this carriageway comes as a much-needed relief for the trader’s community on both sides of the border.
The Oman government, in a bid to make itself one of the major logistics hubs in the region, has been investing in developing infrastructure of global standards and they have achieved their goals to quite an extent. From investing in the freight movement to creating seamless cross-border trade relationships, the Oman government has been taking all the right steps to make things happen for them. And this carriageway is yet another stepping stone towards stamping their economic supremacy in the region.
As part of its bid to establish Oman as one of the frontrunners of logistics giants in the region, Oman had sent its first-ever overland trade shipment with Saudi Arabia under the TIR System of the International Road Transport Union (IRU), which is being seen as one of the most important mechanisms for fast-tracking cross border trade. This system is all about creating a quick trade policy by enhancing clearances, reducing the waiting time at ports, and optimizing time and cost. The TIR has already reduced the shipment time between Oman and Saudi Arabia by 72 percent and by further enhancing the overall process, the trade mechanism is all set to become even more seamless. Initiatives like these are making sure that the two countries develop trade relations that are smooth and hassle-free. The Oman government has also been hinting at introducing eTIR system that will further make the entire process quick and unified.
The new carriageway is yet another addition to all kinds of efforts that both governments on either side are undertaking to ensure that their trade relationships get a real boost. Now that even the road movement will become faster, quicker, and easier, both the countries can hope for a much wider trade exchange. Recently, a high-profile meeting was held where high-ranking officials from both sides met to develop stronger business ties. The Omani representatives also shared their plans and investment opportunities in various sectors like real estate, fisheries, tourism, industry, renewable energy, and a lot more. These are clear indicators that both the countries are taking trade development very seriously and there is a growing impetuous on making cross-border ties smoother. This will not only create a much larger economic spectrum for the logistics companies in Oman but will also give both the countries an opportunity to create more jobs, better infrastructure and take their countries towards competitive economic authority.
With such remarkable and persistent efforts being made on both sides of the border, it is quite clear that the governments of these countries are ensuring their economic activities take an upward graph. Be it road development, creating a smoother business environment, or building world-scale transportation infrastructure, there is a clear vision that these governments are following. And the latest addition to these efforts is the Oman-Saudi Direct Desert Carriageway, which is sure to make things smoother. The trade bodies already seem to be celebrating the prospects that this carriageway will bring to their business and time will tell how this amazing engineering feat that cuts through The Empty Quarter will enhance their business acumen.