Khazaen Economic City, Marafi sign MoU to develop dry-port facilities

Muscat: ASYAD Group subsidiary Marafi signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Khazaen Economic City to develop and operate dry-port facilities in Khazaen.

Khazaen Economic City and Marafi will work together to develop the project. Khazaen Economic City, envisioned as an international logistics

hub, is spread over a total area of 51 million sqm in the Governorate of South Al Batinah and will have a dry-port along with logistics, industrial, commercial and residential zones.

The proposed city will be developed in several phases to become an integrated city. Marafi is a member of ASYAD’s group of companies, established to manage and operate maritime services and handling of vessels at ports and terminals in Oman and internationally.

By means of signing the MoU, both parties have agreed to use their best efforts to obtain all the necessary approvals and permits and complete the due diligence required to sign the definitive agreements before the end of 2018.

To fulfill the objective of the MoU, Marafi will set up an SPV with key local logistics partners from the private sector to develop and operate the Sultanate’s first dry-port. The dry-port facilities will be a key demand driver and enabler for the Khazaen development.

The fully integrated Khazaen Economic City will be the first of its kind to be set up near Muscat. Khazaen will lead the Sultanate’s plans to evolve into a logistics-centric economy.

It will accomplish this by creating a city thoroughly designed with world class infrastructure that caters to the development of logistics-linked activities and kindle investment indirectly.

Served by major transportation infrastructure, such as the Al Batinah Expressway, Oman Rail, and Muscat International Airport, Khazaen is the ideal logistics, warehousing, light industrial and commercial hub linking the main modes of transportation in and out of the Sultanate.

The Khazaen dry-port is central to the north Omani coast within the most densely populated part of the Sultanate and with the best road connectivity to Sohar Port, airports and logistics providers.  Synergies are also expected with A’Suwaiq Port as it gradually develops in the future.

Abdulrahman bin Salim al Hatmi, ASYAD Group’s CEO stated, “Signing of this MoU is extremely significant. Dry-ports efficiently promote economic and social development in the surrounding areas by generating employment and income.

Khazaen will support the significant potential for Oman’s logistics sector. The dry-port at Khazaen will speed the flow of cargo between ships and major land transportation networks, and improve the movement of imports and exports, by moving the time-consuming sorting and processing of containers, away from congested seaports.

It comes in line with the Sultanate of Oman Logistics Strategy ‘SOLS’ 2040”.

Tareq al-Mugheiri, Board Member of Khazaen Economic City, said, “The signing of this MoU will help Oman in branding itself as a logistics hub in the near future.

The dry-port will position Khazaen Economic City as a central hub for logistics to provide integrated services related to the supply chain”.

Faisal al Balushi, General Manager of the Commercial and Business Development at Khazaen Economic City said “The dry-port will enable Khazaen to provide urban freight consolidation from a

central distribution point to service the city of Muscat, with easy connectivity to Muscat Airport and Sohar Port via the Muscat and Al Batinah Expressway”.

Dr Ahmed al Abri, CEO of Marafi, said, “This is an exciting time to be part of the realisation of such a significant project in Oman’s economic growth.

We are looking forward to bringing our expertise to this development. This involvement of private sector partners will strengthen the port’s capabilities, outreach, services and scope of supply.

The dry-port is essential for Khazaen development and growth. Its activities are key to drive businesses to settle and grow within the economic area”.

Fortified with customs bonded services, ample capacity, and connectivity with the Muscat-Batinah Expressway and eventually the GCC rail, the dry-port will be ideally positioned to serve the needs of shippers and logistics service providers. –ONA