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Innovation holds key to non-oil future of Oman
November 7, 2018 | 9:26 PM
by Times News Service
Inaugurated under the auspices of His Highness Sayyid Asa’ad bin Tariq Al Said, Deputy Prime Minister for International Relations and Cooperation Affairs and Personal Representative of His Majesty, IRU World Congress brought together more than 1,000 delegates to discuss the future of logistics around the world. -Supplied photo
 
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Muscat: Oman and innovation took centre stage, as the International Road Union (IRU) World Congress opened Wednesday morning.

The Sultanate has stepped up its plans to establish a strong and sustainable economy as part of its non-oil future.

Inaugurated under the auspices of His Highness Sayyid Asa’ad bin Tariq Al Said, Deputy Prime Minister for International Relations and Cooperation Affairs and Personal Representative of His Majesty, the event united more than 1,000 delegates to discuss the future of logistics around the world.

Dr Ahmed Al Futaisi, Minister of Transport and Communications, said that logistics and trade would play a big role in the future global economy, and Oman was gearing up to be an integral part of it.



“Hosting the IRU World Congress in Oman underpins the important role that the Middle East region has been playing through strategic partnerships with emerging economies, such as the ‘One Belt, One Road’ Initiative,” he said. “This will enable the region to contribute to the development of global trade and play a role in the integrated logistics system.”

“Similar to other countries, the Sultanate has recognised that we should keep pace with development and co-opt the knowledge revolution that is taking place now,” he added. “Today, the Sultanate has world-class road networks linking ports, free zones, airports and industrial zones and maintains three deep ports that serve the needs of emerging markets in India, East Africa, Iran and Gulf countries that are fully integrated with its free zones.”

The IRU is being held at a time when the world is witnessing the straddling of new global trading routes, affecting the movement of people and goods, in addition to the rapid innovation taking place in the road transport sector as a result of the industry becoming increasingly digital, connected and automated.

Christian Labrot, President of the IRU, stated, “This Congress is timely, because the world we all operate in is changing rapidly. From geopolitical insecurity, increases in protectionism and climate change, to digitalisation, Uberisation, alternative and driverless vehicles. But with challenge comes opportunity. Our goal in the coming days is to set the industry on the right path to prosper from the opportunities. We are also here to network because we can’t achieve any of this unless we work together.”

Labrot added, “We are here because Oman sits at the heart of some of the most dynamic transport corridors in the world. Straddling trade routes, ancient and modern, between Asia, Africa and Europe, Oman has an ambitious plan to become one of the world’s leading logistics and trade hubs. The Oman logistics strategy 2040 is a great example for all of us to follow.”

Held under the theme, “Innovation on the Move”, this year’s Congress aims to explore the role of technological advancements in optimising operations management, driving continuous improvement and facilitating global trade.

José Manuel Durão Barroso, Chairman of Goldman Sachs International and Former President of the European Commission, urged the industry to work together to effect positive change. “It is essential to talk, regardless of differing interests and animosities, because talking is what leads to deals, which in turn means trade and global prosperity,” he said.

Urging logistics experts and professionals to innovate, futurist and innovation expert Jim Carroll, stated, “In a time of rapid change, you can’t expect to get by on what has worked in the past. You must be willing to do things differently. Abandon routine – embrace velocity!”

A declaration was also signed between IRU, Mwasalat, and the Royal Oman Police Directorate General of Customs. The document reaffirms the Sultanate’s commitment to boosting trade across its borders and working in partnership to bring the globally applicable international customs transit and the TIR system to life in Oman.

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