Oman, the Only Winner in Qatar Crisis

Published September 12th, 2017 - 11:47 GMT
Oman has seen trade with Qatar skyrocket by almost 2,000 percent in the past few months. (AFP)
Oman has seen trade with Qatar skyrocket by almost 2,000 percent in the past few months. (AFP)

Oman appears to have benefited from the Gulf political crisis by staying neutral in the fracas, with the sultanate seeing a boom in trade with Qatar.

Oman has seen trade with Qatar skyrocket by 2,000 percent in the past three months, following a blockade on Doha by neighbouring states including Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the UAE.

The sultanate has stayed neutral in the crisis, which has pitted a Saudi-led Arab alliance against Qatar leading to a blockade of the emirate by land, sea and air.

With many of Qatar's usual trading partners - such as Saudi Arabia - preventing goods from entering Doha since June, the emirate has looked to countries such as Turkey for goods.

Oman - which has traditionally stayed out of regional crises - is not part of the blockading party and has opened its ports to Qatari ships.

"From April to July 2017, the total amount of transactions with Qatar which were ratified by Oman Chamber of Commerce and Industry has equated to more than a quarter of a billion Omani rial," the Muscat-based chamber of commerce told Times of Oman.

Dubbed "the Qatar effect", the blockade has seen trade between the two countries spike by $702 million.

Last month saw the biggest boom in commerce between the two countries with a 1,200 percent increase in trade volume.

Qatari logistics companies are beginning to switch their shipping hubs from Dubai - which is part of the anti-Doha bloc - to Sohar in the north of Oman.

"Qatar would like to relocate to Oman from Dubai," Ramanuj Venkatesh, Larsen & Toubro, told the Muscat-based daily.

"For example, a Qatar-based shipping and logistics company has relocated its regional trans-shipment hub from Dubai to Oman's Sohar port. This brings in valuable in-flow of foreign exchange which can be utilised for improving the quality of Oman's infrastructure and civic amenities."

The impact has been seen in Oman's Salalah shipping hub, which jumped 14 places in the Lloyd's Maritime Intelligence List of the world's top 100 ports.

This is part due to Omani-made goods being exported to Qatar from Salalah and Doha funnelling trade through the sultanate's ports.

Oman is looking to diversify its economy away from a reliance on oil and gas, with prices hit hard by a supply glut.

The newly-developed Duqm port and expansion of Sohar and Salalah shipping facilities will be key to this vision, with the hope of making Oman a regional hub for sea trade.


Copyright @ 2022 The New Arab.

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