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Racing yachts and spare parts for oil rigs – driving forward logistics in Oman

Diverse projects: Oman, one of the most stable countries in the Middle East, produces oil and gas on a large scale. DB Schenker supplies numerous of the country’s plants with spare parts. In addition, they are the leading event logistics provider in Oman, for example, transporting the equipment of all ensembles performing at the Royal Opera House in the capital of Muscat

Photos: iStock / shirophoto, DB Schenker, shutterstock / Philipp Lange


Once a year, the most prestigious regatta in the Middle East, “EFG Sailing Arabia – The Tour,” attracts a top lineup of international sailors. At this year’s event, one of the yachts in the list of rankings stood out from the competition for two reasons: by virtue of its all-female crew and as a result of the DB Schenker logo printed on the hull and mainsail. The logistics service provider was the sponsor of the team of sailors skippered by the Dutch Olympic medallist, Annemieke Bes. And what is more, as logistics partner, DB Schenker went a long way to ensuring the smooth running of the regatta, which was contested in several stages leading from Muscat in the Gulf of Oman to Dubai.

 

The contract had been arranged by DB Schenker’s team in Oman. “This regatta gave us a first real opportunity to make a visual statement as a brand in the Middle East region,” said Malte Knorr, managing director of the national company, which was only founded in 2012. Together with colleagues from the neighboring United Arab Emirates, the team, among its other responsibilities, successfully handled the transport of equipment and crews and, following the race, ensured the return of the boats to Oman on low-bed trailers. “Having worked with DB Schenker during ‘EFG Sailing Arabia – The Tour 2017,’ we are incredibly impressed with the capabilities and will be exploring areas of continued partnership,” said David Graham, CEO of the organizers Oman Sail, after the close of the event this spring.

Malte Knorr began working for DB Schenker in Oman five years ago – initially as Head of Ocean Freight and since 2015 as Managing Director of the joint venture with Khimji Ramdas. Photo: DB Schenker
Malte Knorr began working for DB Schenker in Oman five years ago – initially as Head of Ocean Freight and since 2015 as Managing Director of the joint venture with Khimji Ramdas. Photo: DB Schenker

“EFG Sailing Arabia – The Tour 2017” was by no means the first event logistics assignment for the specialists from the sultanate on the southeastern coast of the Arabian peninsula. As early as 2012, the team assumed responsibility for transporting the equipment of all ensembles performing at the magnificent Royal Opera House in Oman’s capital, Muscat. The company boasts an excellent track record: as yet, they have not reported a single late delivery.

 

“In addition to that, in 2016 we were named the exclusive on-site logistics provider for all events at the new Convention and Exhibition Center in Muscat,” says Malte Knorr. A logistics concept like this had never been seen before in the country. “Thanks to assignments like these, we have evolved into the leading event logistics provider in Oman.”

 

Knorr’s team now consists of more than 30 employees. The national company was awarded the ISO certifications for its quality and environmental management systems as well as for its occupational health and safety system as early as 2014. Apart from strong management, successful logistics operations also require vehicles, warehouses and manpower. All of this is provided by the Omani conglomerate Khimji Ramdas with whom DB Schenker has formed a joint venture. So whenever necessary, Malte Knorr’s team can utilize the company’s workforce of several thousand employees as well as a 45,000 square meter central warehouse, which was designed by DB Schenker, and a customs office. “Ultimately, our strength in Oman stems from the combination of our local setup and DB Schenker’s international network, which we, of course, also use to our maximum advantage,” says Knorr.

million people live in Oman, which means the sultanate on the southeastern coast of the Arabian peninsula, similar in size to Italy and Poland, is sparsely populated. The oil and gas producing country is one of the safest and most stable states in the Middle East. International trade benefits from a free trade agreement with the USA


An aspect proving beneficial is the fact that Oman is investing heavily in its infrastructure – so as to establish itself as a regional logistics hub and as a location for manufacturing companies from abroad. “The roads are in excellent condition, the seaports in Sohar and Salalah are modern, a third port is currently under construction in Duqm, and Muscat is set to receive a new airport,” says Knorr. As a founding member of the Oman Logistics Association, DB Schenker is actively involved in advancing standards and processes.

Roads in excellent condition: Oman is investing heavily in its infrastructure. DB Schenker supports the sultanate’s efforts to establish itself as a regional logistics hub. Photo: shutterstock / Philipp Lange
Roads in excellent condition: Oman is investing heavily in its infrastructure. DB Schenker supports the sultanate’s efforts to establish itself as a regional logistics hub. Photo: shutterstock / Philipp Lange

The logistics-friendly course is determined by the Omanis’ intention to reduce their reliance on fossil fuels. Nevertheless, this continues to be of fundamental importance to the country and thus also for DB Schenker’s business. “Industry solutions are one of our focal points, and oil and gas are and will remain our most important sector,” Knorr affirms.

 

In its latest coup, the national company signed a contract with Oman’s state-owned corporation for the production and marketing of liquefied natural gas (LNG). “The corporation operates a plant in the port city of Sur for the liquefaction of natural gas that is transported from the country’s interior to the coast in pipelines,” Knorr explains.

 

DB Schenker has been tasked with the supply and delivery of various spare parts which are installed during the plant’s scheduled semi-annual shutdowns. “Handling these transports means assuming an enormous responsibility as the plant is of critical importance to the country and has to be up and running in the shortest amount of time and without delay,” the general manager explains. Very soon, in an effort to make the supply chain even more transparent and increase its efficiency, a Purchase Order Management Solution will be implemented that is based on a software solution developed in-house at DB Schenker.

 

Offering maximum transparency and efficiency are two aspects that also take center stage when it comes to the work being carried out by a total of well over 200 customers. For example, by an international operator of land oil rigs based in Oman. The team from DB Schenker supplies the company with equipment from Houston, Texas, one of the oil industry’s central hubs. Depending on the urgency, consignments are either consolidated in the DB Schenker warehouse or flown to Oman by the quickest possible route. All of the documents and the shipment status are available on an IT platform that can be directly accessed by the customer.

 

It is assignments like these that illustrate the high demands that Malte Knorr and his team place on themselves: “We don’t want to gain business by simply offering standard services at a cheaper rate but by raising logistics here to a new level.”

Setting sail for Dubai: DB Schenker was not only the official logistics partner at the regatta “EFG Sailing Arabia – The Tour 2017” but also sponsored one of the yachts, half of whose all-female crew members came from Oman. Shown here together with the crew are Malte Knorr and Karl-Heinz Emberger, CEO of DB Schenker’s region Middle East & Africa

Photos: Oman Sail / Mark Lloyd, DB Schenker



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