Monday, 27 May 2013

Oman Makes Investments in Preparation For a Busy Future

In the Middle East region of the world, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) seems to be getting most of the world’s attention these days, with all their major construction projects on the go; particularly when it comes to their new state-of-the-art port systems being built. Not to be outdone, neighboring Oman is looking to be a main player in the global maritime trade, by investing into it’s own port system in Sohar. Plans would see the existing terminal almost double it’s handling capacity to 1,500,000 TEU, from the existing 800,000 TEU, by year end if all goes as planned. It also has visions of expanding further by 2018, giving the port a capacity of an additional 2.5 million TEU in anticipation of substantial growth prospects.

Just working through the numbers indicates that the port in Sohar is expecting volume to increase 500 per cent before the year 2020. They must surely be expecting incredible economic growth over the next 5 years or they would not be making the huge investments in the first place. The investments in this first expansion phase are estimated to be in the range of RO 50 million (around US$100 million.) Just like the other nations in the Arab Gulf region, Oman does not want to get left behind when the new order of the future global economy unfolds. As such, officials and investors are positioning themselves to be ready to capitalize on the investment opportunities, when it happens.

Although oil has been the main driving force behind Oman’s economy, they produce much less than the UAE or Saudi Arabia, in comparison. The country also relies upon fishing and agriculture, as well as tourism to help generate GDP. Back in November of 2010, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) studied 135 countries around the world and determined Oman as the nation most-improved during the last forty years. Oman is widely considered to be one of the most developed and stable countries in the Arab world, giving investors good reasons to invest in the opportunities that become available in the region.

Located at the mouth of the Persian Gulf, Oman has a natural strategic position to take advantage of the expected increase in marine traffic as the global economy shifts to reflect the demands from the growing emerging markets in the east. The world’s trade routes are rapidly changing and countries that do not anticipate the opportunities that are coming along with it, will simply lose out when it comes time to competing in the future. Oman already has some incredible competition with the other Arab Gulf states but they are betting that there will be more than enough business opportunities, to be shared by all in the region. In fact, they are looking forward to it.

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