Q&A with Nabil Salim al-Bimani, group chief ports & freezones of Asyad Group and a member of the IRU World Congress Steering Committee (pictured below)
What is the strategic importance of the IRU World Congress globally and locally?

The International Road Transport Union (IRU) World Congress 2018 offers a meeting place for leaders across the road transport industry.

Senior business people, government ministers and experts will come together to network, discuss and debate the pivotal role road transport plays in logistics and trade. It will address key local and international issues, and identify the best international innovative solutions to these problems.

Nabil Salim al-Bimani Group chief, ports and free zones at Oman Global Logistics Group (Asyad)With rapidly evolving road transport markets facing disruption and challenging times for trade, it is more important than ever for the private and public sector to come together around the heart of the industry.

There is no doubt that the congress is the platform for the logistics industry. We have more than 60 top-class keynote speakers, who will be joined by an equally impressive list of 1,000+ delegates from more than 100 countries.

By connecting the right industry players and facilitating an open dialogue, we hope to bridge the gaps in the industry and challenge the status quo.

Oman has first-hand experience of some of the key issues faced by the industry through its ongoing strategic plan to position itself as a logistics hub both locally and regionally. The sultanate understands that logistics are a critical enabler for businesses and foreign investments. As a result, it has become one of the nation’s areas of focus, and investments in Oman’s ports, free zones, industrial estates, roads and airports have been ramped up.

What is the industry doing to support new entrants to the market and ensure innovation?

Our industry is known for innovation, and many companies and organisations provide support for startups. For example, this year we launched ‘Ibhar’, an incubator programme that nurtures young local businesses and startups, specifically in the logistics sector.

ASYAD (Oman Global Logistics Group) provides them with both office space and technical support to ensure these small and medium-sized enterprises have the opportunity to grow.

As a global example, the IRU World Congress will also feature a space dedicated to innovation in the transport industry. Hosted by Road Ventures and called Innovation Alley, this space will showcase the most innovative companies, entrepreneurs and startups for mobility and will be a one-stop hub for a look into the future of the transport industry.

As an industry, we recognise that we need to look beyond the standard of the square box and grey tarmac for creative solutions to modern problems. Given our past experience, we are confident that many of these solutions are not only creative but solve real problems and can easily be implemented.

Why Oman?

Situated at the epicentre of some of the most dynamic transport and trade corridors in the world, Oman is working on becoming one of the leading logistics players in the coming years. The country has developed a strong strategic vision paired with a National Logistics Strategy that drives developments in transportation, trade and logistics.

With that said, the sultanate today has a modern logistics network, with new airports, port and road network expansions. As a result, the country has jumped five places in the World Bank’s Logistics Performance Index 2018.

Furthermore, Oman has proven itself as a skilled innovator and, by overcoming key challenges, it has asserted itself as an expert in logistics. The country therefore is an ideal host for the 2018 IRU World Congress.

What can ASYAD offer?

ASYAD is the most comprehensive end-to-end logistics provider in the Middle East. It covers every activity in the value chain of logistics under one umbrella; from ports, free zones and multimodal transportation to logistics solutions.

We were established in 2016 to maximise the economic and financial returns from government investments in these service companies, and to implement the National Logistics Strategy as mandated by the Omani government. A previously fragmented market, ASYAD integrates key transport hubs in the sultanate under one offering, working together and complementing each other.

What is ASYAD’s role in the region?

Aside from our role to unite all logistics services in the sultanate, ASYAD actively seeks to create an open, efficient, effective and globally integrated business environment. We manage a number of projects that add value not only for businesses but also for consumers.

We have continued to expand the local road network, opened new airports, expanded free zones in strategic locations and are working closely with regional regulators to reduce customs clearing times, to name a few.

As an organisation, international standards are used to benchmark our performance and to ensure that we remain competitive and relevant to the market. We actively listen to our member base and act in their best interest.

Our goal is to link Oman to the world and the world to Oman.

In partnership with ASYAD