Earlier this year, the Sultanate of Oman’s SOHAR Port and Freezone joined hands with India’s Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) to launch a five-webinar series that aims at assessing and discussing the growth possibility of business ties between the two nations. While on one hand, Oman is looking to maximize the potential of its ports network by collaborating with India’s rising economic power and shipping companies in Oman, India will be looking to make the most of the excellent infrastructure and strategically suited location of Oman’s ports to gain better access to global trade routes, especially in the GCC region, Africa and the US.
Over the years, India has emerged as Oman’s strongest trade partner and this agreement is all set to take the business relationships further between the two countries. In the first webinar, some important points were discussed. The second webinar of the series was also concluded recently making further headways in the two countries cementing their ties for productive business years ahead.
In the first webinar, several important and insightful presentations were made by the dignitaries from Oman’s Sultanate. These included presentations on SOHAR’s strategic advantages and its free trade agreements, and how to utilize SOHAR to enhance access to the US. For decades, India and Oman have enjoyed bilateral trading that has been possible due to close geographical location, prime waterfront access, leasable land options, and amazing infrastructure. These factors have provided Indian business owners an opportunity to do flourishing business with Oman. And things have been looking great. Through competitive prices, incentive packages, and a huge amount of raw material offered by SOHAR Port and Freezone, Indian businesses can gain unprecedented access to trade connections with the US. This has been one of the biggest incentives for joining hands with Oman’s business strategy.
While the first webinar focussed on assessing the business opportunities, the second webinar was an extension of that. In the second webinar, opportunities in SOHAR’s growing food industry were discussed. India has already been exporting different kinds of food items to Oman and this deal further enhance this business prospects. In 2020, India exported as much as 16,000 TEU of food items including fruits, vegetables, cereals, tea, coffee, rice, dairy, eggs, meat, and spices. Food import is an integral part of the system in the GCC area as a majority of food requirements in this area are fulfilled by imports. And such deals will only enhance the import quality and quantity to meet the rising demand for food products in the country.
SOHAR PORT and Freezone have been instrumental in connecting the two countries due to their geographical location and it has made doing business between the two countries a lot easier. The encouraging part is that almost 35 percent of the companies operating in the Freezone are Indian, with their approximate business reaching up to USD 680 million. Not just that, a quarter of the land in Freezone is owned by Indian businesses and Indian investors hold the highest percentage of GTL (General Trading License) in core sectors like metal, polymers, and textiles.
So, it makes sense for the Oman government to take this initiative and crack a deal with India for business prospects in the future. India’s ports have become more and more global in the last few years and their ability to do business across different countries have enhanced the business capabilities of the country. The SOHAR Port and Freezone is one of the fastest-growing ports and free zones in the world. It acts as the main entry point for the import of food products in the Sultanate of Oman and acts as an ideal location for the import, processing, packaging, and distribution of food products within and outside of the region.
These logistics hubs are feature-rich zones complete with temperature-controlled warehousing, and several logistics service providers acting as a vital logistics hub in the region. The two countries have been in a solid business relationship and it only blossomed during the COVID-19 pandemic where India remained a reliable source of importing fruits, vegetables, and other essentials into Oman.
Oman and India have remained good business partners for decades. Linked by geography, culture, history, and warm and cordial relations, the two countries are now looking forward to maximizing the benefits both countries can share through business. These ties will ensure that both countries emerge as global leaders in their own domains and continue to support each other in the years to come.