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TRANSOM SATS, paving a new way for air cargo in Oman

The Covid-19 crisis proved that air cargo is one of the most critically important industries

The Covid-19 pandemic was a health and a humanitarian crisis, as well as an economic shock. The pandemic brought the world to a standstill and every economic sector was impacted by the virus. While essential sectors like oil and gas, energy, real estate, and aviation saw a sharp decline, a few emerging industries became our saviors. Among the frontline workers who made it possible for us to keep some semblance of sanity during these trying times, the cargo industry barely receives the recognition it deserves. Air cargo is a critically important industry. During the crisis, it became the lifeline of society by delivering critical medical supplies and vaccines across the globe and keeping international supply chains open. Additionally, for many airlines, cargo became a vital source of revenue when passenger flights were grounded.

Introduction to Company
TRANSOM SATS’ started as a joint venture between Oman Airports and SATS from Singapore and the company aims to serve the local aviation industry and the Sultanate of Oman while strengthening Oman’s position as a cargo hub and the cargo gateway to the GCC. The company aspires to be the best cargo handling terminal in the international arena while keeping its Omani identity intact. TRANSOM SATS operates from the three dedicated freight aircraft bays, with 284 permanent staff along with the capacity to handle 350,000 tonnes of cargo annually. It also boasts a warehouse with an area of 23,000 square meters.

The company provides cargo services to more than 34 world-leading airlines flying to and from the airport and it is also the service partner for the national carrier, Oman Air where the company supports the airline’s hub operations at its head office in Muscat. In order to keep up with the fast-paced and changing demands, TRANSOM SATS stepped up its transformation, made some tough calls in order to be more efficient and financially sustainable.

The Company operates from its state of the art brand new facility since 2018, and this has benefitted its customers and users of the facility. TRANSOM SATS‘ customized self-service kiosk and electronic signature delivery pads are just some of the features that set it apart from its competitors, making it one of the best cargo terminal operators in the region.

The critical role of TRANSOM SATS
TRANSOM SATS cargo is one of the most efficient cargo terminal operators at Muscat International Airport. Its capabilities were put to the test during the pandemic crisis. The company made sure that food supplies didn’t stop due to airport closure during the pandemic. The PPE kits were also delivered almost immediately as the supplies came through from the aircraft.

The company also ensured the timely processing and handling of the vaccines so that they reached the Ministry of Health in the desired condition and in the quickest possible time. Additionally, the company helped manage the supply of food as we coordinated with the various government ministries and the national carrier Oman Air, to ensure an adequate supply of eggs, vegetables and meat from India, Africa and Europe to the Sultanate.

Transformation through digitalization for a more secure future
S.T. Tan, CEO of TRANSOM SATS said, “We had our digitalisation plans on hand, but the pandemic forced us to quicken the pace of transformation. As a result, we introduced many digital initiatives the past year as our response against the virus, as well as continuing our efforts to be more efficient and productive with the help of technology. We have also obtained the IATA CEIV certification in Pharma and Fresh, and it allows the industry to know that we have in place the right processes and facilities and equipment to service special cargo for the industry and the country. Digitalization is the way to go for the air freight industry.”

Two of the key innovations are the Self-Service Kiosk and the mobile app.

Self Service Kiosk (SSK)
Implementation of SSK made the whole documentation process transparent and the customers were empowered to take control of their shipments. Being available at various locations of the building, and on a 24/7 basis, users can process their documents easily and efficiently. The SSK promotes social distancing as human interactions were not necessary, thus saving on manpower cost and stationery cost.

Key Features:
1. Convenience for all customers including walk-in customers
2. Easy to operate – Perform transactions with minimal/no data entry
3. Pay charges in SSK using multiple payment modes – credit card, Pre-Deposit (PD a/c) and Credit.
4. Generate Pick Orders for Inspection/Delivery
5. Customers can log in using a username and password or signed-in using a unique QR code triggered by the customer.

Benefits of SSK are:
1. Convenience: eliminate waiting time at the counter. With SSK, the customer can complete transactions of 30+ shipments in less than 1 minute.
2. Ease of access to information: all data including shipment status are available. This gave a clear view of the charges and status of the shipments.
3. Lower costs: Reduction in manpower and associated costs.
4. Paperless environment- Usage of paper was drastically reduced where the invoices and pick orders are sent to their email address electronically.

Mobile Application
The mobile app allows users to view and transact the operations through their mobile phone, thus providing convenience as well as the freedom to operate as and when they need.

Benefits of mobile Application are:
1. Speed-up cargo clearance: real-time alerts and information on the documents/cargo awaiting clearance
2. Reduce waiting time: eliminate waiting time at the counter by processing transactions on the phone and performing transactions anytime & anywhere.
3. Normal transaction for a single shipment at the counter- 15mins
4. Transaction via mobile app for 50 shipments –10 seconds.
5. Lower costs: Reduction of cost, especially manpower and stationary.

The road ahead
The company’s performances are being measured through key performance indicators (KPIs) and the information are being shared with the public. This is the company’s service promise to its customers and users of its services. The key to customer satisfaction is to keep its service promise to its customers through meeting its KPIs.

Moving forward, the company will primarily focus on building a sustainable environment. In order to remain relevant in the market and be successful, sustainability is important for the company’s security, survival, and a better future.

TRANSOM SATS plans on growing a sustainable business by remaining financially strong and investing in technology and training to deliver its best services to its stakeholders and customers. TRANSOM SATS will also offer tailored-made services for niche markets to meet the unique needs of its customers. In all, the Company works to fulfil its role to serve the industry and the Sultanate of Oman.

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