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The Sultanate of Oman is the third largest country in the Arabian Peninsula, located at thesouth-eastern tip of the Arabian Peninsula, which lies between latitudes 16° 40' and 26° 20'north, and longitudes 51° 50' and 59° 40' east. The total area of the Sultanate is around309,500 km2. The Sultanate of Oman’s coastline extends 3,165 km from the Strait ofHormuz in the north, to the borders of the Republic of Yemen in the south. It shares its coastwith three seas, namely, the Arabian Gulf, the Sea of Oman and the Arabian Sea. It alsoconsists of many islands off the coast. Most popular among them are the islands of Masirah,Halanyat and Al Soda.The Sultanate shares its borders with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia on its west, the UnitedArab Emirates at the northeast, the Republic of Yemen at the southwest, the Strait of Hormuzat the north and the Arabian Sea at the east. The Musandam Peninsula forms the country'snorthern tip, which is the only coast the Sultanate has on the Arabian Gulf. It is just over 50km south of the Islamic Republic of Iran across the Strait of Hormuz.NFCNational Ferries Company is owned by the Government of the Sultanate of Oman throughMinistry of Finance. It is managed by a high profile Board of Directors. It is a very criticaland important contributor to the maritime transport infrastructure and development in theSultanate of Oman. The sultanate has a long coastline of about 3,165 km. Therefore this ferryservice is a necessity for the population. It is very useful for tourists as it provides vital linksbetween ports and saves travelling time. Passengers can enjoy the picturesque and majesticcoastline of the country in their ferry journey.NFC contributes to the maritime transport infrastructure and development in the Sultanate ofOman. Their services are between the key ports, like as follows:? Muscat – Khasab (Musandam)? Khasab – Lima (Musandam)? Shinas – Khasab. It is launched on 9th May 2012? Shannah – Masirah. It is launched on 14th August 2014? Shinas – Dibba – Khasab. It is launched on 28th August 2014Fleet and operations?o Muscat – Khasab: Passenger, vehicle and cargo transportation services for four times a week.o Khasab – Lima: Passenger and cargo transportation services for six times a week.o Shinas – Khasab: Passengers, vehicle and cargo transportation services for four times a week? Exclusive ; Short Cruises: On special request for corporate clients, they offer lunch ; dinnersailings, private functions, parties, seminars, and conferences.o Cargo Transfer: Provides cargo transfers in Seas of Oman, Arabian Gulf and inter-Gulf oncharter hire.Corporate objectivesNational Ferries Company has a lot more potential with the completion of the basicinfrastructure development of the 12 new ports. They plan to link and cover more than 12ports, within the Sea of Oman and Arabian Sea. They also plan to develop an internationalroute linking northern Oman ports to regional destination.Corporate objectives of NFC are to:o Help to connect Oman’s coastal towns and regional destinationso Assist in local communities developmento Be a part of creation of new jobs and opportunities for Omaniso Be a part of the tourism outcomes for the countryo Remain committed to preservation of environmentCompany’s performance:The company boasts of having an advanced fleet of seven ferries of various models, whichfunction to suit the requirements to transport passengers, vehicles and light cargo, besides thelanding ship (Halaniyat) that provides transport services for equipment, heavy vehicles, andlivestock. Presently, the services provided by the National Ferries Company (NFC) covereight local ports through 69 journeys per week, in addition to providing access to a fewregional ports.The company issued latest statistics at the end of October 2017. The statistics indicated anincrease in the number of passengers and also in the number of vehicles transported on theferry fleet. By the end of October (2017), the number of passengers transported was 198,622passengers, as compared to 183,354 in the same period to that of last year. This is an increaseof 8 per cent.By the end of October (2017), the number of vehicles shipped on ferries reached 50,916vehicles, as compared to 44.431 in the same period to that of last year. This is a rise of 15 percent. Also, for the same period, it shipped more than 27,000 tonnes of equipment and heavygoods.Since the inception of the company, its services have greatly enhanced the maritime transportsystem. They have helped Omanise various senior positions by recruiting Omani youth towork with the ferry crew, thus providing new job opportunities in the market. Currently,Omani youth are recruited to highest maritime positions as pilots of the latest fleet of fastferries.The NFC plays a key role in the overall development of the Sultanate. It is one of theproducts of the renaissance in the developmental and economic sector of the country. It hascontributed immensely to the economic and social development in the Sultanate by providingeconomical and convenient means of transport for its citizens, while enhancing tourism andcommercial activity through the transport of individuals, vehicles and goods. Also, itbenefitted investors by reducing the cost of transporting inputs in the construction sector inthe Governorate of Musandam and Masairah Island. Also, it increased the movement oftourists, which stimulated hotel activity.The fares of NFC have gained the reputation of being reasonable for the amount of time theysave. Also, the beautiful experience will leave us awestruck with memories for life. Also, theferry is luxurious, comfortable, safe and super fast. Also, we have an option of taking ourown vehicle on board. The cuisine served is also of international taste. We will beoverwhelmed with tasty meals and snacks served. Passengers have a choice of vegetarian andnon-vegetarian cuisine. The staff on-board are professional and courteous. The chairs arecomfortable and there are TVs inside., provided in the trip which took about 5 hours.So, one has very few reasons left to not choose NFC services.Future plans:The company envisions of providing more modern and convenient way for citizens andtourists, to connect the coastal areas of the Sultanate. It is a platform to establish theSultanate's position in the forefront of the global tourism industry. It has the potential toshowcase the modern and sophisticated infrastructure of the Sultanate. It’s logisticalstrategies qualify it to become the focus of the international shipping lines, and one of themost important tourist destinations in the world.PROBLEMS? The company does not allow online booking. We need to go to the Muscat office to make abooking.? The booking can happen only 24 hours before the trip. Buying on the spot at the time ofdeparture is impossible.? For booking a ticket, we need to provide a copy of an ID showing dates of birth and fullname. So, if we want to buy tickets for other people, we must have their ID numbers, datesof birth and full names.? Also, the travel timings shown on the website are just an estimate. They are subject tochange. Sadly, the change in timing is not cautioned about while we are booking the tickets.This became the source of many complaints.? To take a car that is not registered under our name, we must have a letter from the ownerstating that is OK. Also, a copy of the owner’s ID card is to be submitted. Otherwise it isnot allowed onboard.? The booking process has gained many complaints.? Online booking should be considered seriously by NFC. Thw whole booking process is verycumbersome and tiring.? Also, the ferry timing shall be fixed. Schedule and Fares.? The route of Muscat-Khasab ferries operate 4 days a week. The ferry leaves Muscat on Sundays ;Wednesdays at 12:00 pm, and leaves Khasab on Tuesdays ; Fridays at 12:00 pm. So we need toplan our trip according to those timings and working days. Also, the booking is in advance of a day,so we need to plan our schedule very meticulously.Strategic SOLUTIONS:1. It is good news for people of the Sultanate and international touriststhat the company has announced to solve these issues. On July 12,2016, The National Ferries Company (NFC) has joined hands with theDirect Ferries portal to make ferry travel in Oman more accessible totravellers around the world. Direct Ferries is a London based companythat provides bookings for ferry crossings in over 211 countries andislands with 170 ferry companies, 2,197 routes and 622 ports. TheDirect Ferries website is now available in Arabic also.It is for the first time that the NFC is working with an European agent. Direct Ferriesoffers high speed services. The passengers can now book their trips online to a hostof destinations of the NFC network, even before they set foot in Oman.Matt Davies, Chief Executive of Direct Ferries said, “This is an importantdevelopment in the Middle East for us. Oman is an exciting destination, growing inpopularity with UK tourists and we are delighted to be working with NFC, offering ahigh quality, ferry experience and an alternative way to discover this beautifulcountry.”He further stated, “The high speed ferry company offers travellers to Oman acompletely different way to discover this beautiful country. The longest crossing fromKhasab in the north of the country to the capital Muscat is six hours and the serviceoperates once a week, while the more frequent and much shorter Shannah toMasirah service which takes just one hour operates round trips daily.”Mehdi al Abduwani, CEO, NFC – “We are very pleased to welcome Direct Ferries toour distribution network of agents. We are confident of growing in the UK andEuropean markets for Oman’s inbound travel with Direct Ferries presence.”2. After the online booking availability, NFC transported 10,681 passengers and 2,429vehicles during the holidays of Eid Al Fitr and the Renaissance Day. The statistics revealedthat the Shanna-Masirah route was the most popular and experienced active touristmovement during the vacation period. Two ferry services on the Shanna-Jawahrat- Masirahroute carried 9,533 passengers and 2,195 vehicles, with an estimate of daily average of 866passengers and 199 vehicles.The statistics further revealed that the total trips to and from Khasab in MusandamGovernorate provided services to 1,148 passengers and 234 vehicles. The route of Muscat-Khasab-Muscat ferry provided services to 665 passengers, and 155 vehicles. On theShinas-Khasab- Shinas route 362 passengers and 79 vehicles were transported, and on theKhasab-Lima- Khasab route 121 passengers were ferried.3. NFC increased the number of trips during the holidays to accommodate theincreased demand.4. The company is also focussing on providing adequate nationalstaff at the liaison offices and bookings to facilitate passengerbookings with ease. The staff shall be increased and all fieldtechnical preparations shall be made in routes with high numberof passengers during the holidays or peak time.5. The company owns and operates ferries serve seven ports and townsalong the Omani coast, and operate to three destinations across theHormuz Strait in Iran, namely Qeshm Island, Bandar Abbas andChabahar Port. The cross-border ferry services are expected to contributeto enhanced coastal trade and maritime links.It was very challenging to add these three important ports in Iran last year dueto international sanctions in force at that time, high insurance costs, and more.The NFC had to overcome these challenges because of the potential for trade ingoods and services across the border. Iran is a big market and an importantsource formany supplies including vegetables and foodstuffStrategic Plan of NFC:The state-owned coastal maritime transportation services provider, NFC has criticisedthe Omani businesses for not making the most of its world-class, high-speed ferries. TheCEO of NFC, Mehdi bin Mohammed al Abduwani, has rightly remarked that the ferryservices can be used to enhance trade and commercial links with destinations along itsexpanding network. He underscored the importance of enhanced engagement with theOmani business community in particular, and the population in general, for optimumutilisation of the nation’s public transport infrastructure.He declared that he is greatly saddened by the tepid uptake of the company’s high-speed coastal ferries by the private sector in the delivery of goods and services. Eventraders, business people, small and medium enterprises (SMEs) are not making gooduse of the ferry services locally, and also to Iran. He stressed that is ample under-utilized capacity on the ferries, which are heavily subsidized by the Government.

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