MUSCAT, Oman – His Majesty Sultan Qaboos Bin Said has given directives to shift the cargo and container operations from Port Sultan Qaboos (PSQ) to Sohar port and convert PSQ as an exclusive tourism port, a statement from the Transport and Communications Ministry and Tourism Ministry said on Saturday.
The Ministry of Transport and Communications and the Ministry of Tourism will now work towards implementing His Majesty’s directive in coordination with the people concerned.
The ministries will develop the master plan and detailed designs for the port and its associated services and utilities in coordination with respective public and private departments, the statement said. They will also prepare the construction and implementation documents for the port projects, which will be dedicated fully for tourism.
There will be coordination with the respective departments about the mechanism of transferring all commercial import, export, general cargo and container activities to Sohar Industrial Port to ensure non-conflict with the existing concession agreement for the management and operation of Port Sultan Qaboos, the statement said.
A study will be conducted on converting the Port Sultan Qaboos to a tourist port.
The decision was welcomed by people associated with the tourism sector, shipping industry and the public.
“I am glad to know that Muscat will now have an exclusive port for cruise and tourist ships. Muttrah and surrounding areas such as the Bait Al Baranda Museum, which is situated after the port roundabout, is visited by a number of tourists. Tourism will definitely get a boost with PSQ being converted for tourism purposes,” Moosa Al Lawati, a TV presenter told Oman Tribune.
The development of the ports sector will enhance Oman Vision 2020, which aims at diversifying the sources of national economy and reducing reliance on oil revenues.
“PSQ has been the main gateway to Muscat for cargo ships and passenger cruise business as well.
The cruise terminal building, which has been opened with duty free caters to the requirements of tourists arriving in Oman by sea. With Oman focusing on tourism development, the order to shift cargo operations to the industrial port of Sohar is a welcome step,” an official associated with the shipping industry said.
The decision comes as part of the government efforts to diversify the port sector activities to attract international tourists highlighting the Sultanate’s traditions and civilisational aspects.