Overview of Land Transport Law in Oman
Oman has recently taken a very active approach in promoting and boosting transportation services throughout the region. As part of this vision, the Ministry of Transportation and Communication (the “MOTC”) plans to introduce a road management system whereby it will promote efficiency and maintain clear guidelines on the operation of public transport. The MOTC has recently issued Ministerial Decision 10/2016 (the “Land Transport Law”). The Land Transport Law was published in the Official Gazette on 6 March 2016 and it will come into effect on 6 March 2017.
The rules governing the Land Transport Law apply to all transport activities, except those activities where it has clearly been established by particular Sultani Decree or Ministerial Decision. The Land Transport Law obliges the party seeking to conduct transport activities to obtain an authorization from MOTC.
The main governmental body that is in charge of facilitating and ensuring that companies are in compliance with the Land Transport Law is MOTC. As part of its objectives, the MOTC is responsible for preparing a comprehensive strategy for land transport services in Wilayat and the Governorates. The MOTC is also responsible for determining the locations of the facilities and their technical conditions and specifications. The MOTC is also in charge of setting and implementing the transportation fees.
Goods transport contracts
The carrier may inspect the goods to be transferred to check their condition and the accuracy of the data provided to him by the shipper. If it turns out that the condition of the goods does not allow transferring without damaging them, the carrier may refuse to transport them unless the shipper approves in writing his knowledge about it and he approves the goods to be transported. The carrier is responsible for the safety of the goods. He is also responsible for loss, or damage or delay in delivering the goods. The carrier will not be liable to the extent of any error from the shipper or receiver or any hidden defects in the goods.
The commission agent of transport is responsible for the safety of the passengers and goods and cannot contract out of this liability. Article 47 provides that “Any condition that requires the full or partial exemption of the commission agent of transport’s liability of whatever physical damage that occurs to the passenger shall be considered null and void.”
If it is proven that the carrier is responsible for the delay in the delivery of the goods, his liability will be within the range of what is equal to half or double of the transportation fees, and shall not exceed the total value of goods transportation fees.
PenaltiesAny person contravening the provisions of this law shall be punished by imprisonment for a term not less than one month and not more than six months and a fine not less than OMR 100 and not more than OMR 500, or either of these punishments. The punishment is doubled for repeat offences.