Conrad Prabhu –
MUSCAT, JAN 25 –
Oman Logistics Company SAOC (Khazaen), the wholly government-owned master developer behind the Sultanate’s maiden integrated logistics city currently taking shape in South Al Batinah Governorate, plans to join hands with a strategic partner in the development of an initial 10 sq km plot to serve as a springboard for the hub’s long-term growth.
Experienced local and international players with the requisite financial and technical wherewithal have been invited to participate in a competitive tender that goes out next week.
“We are looking for a strategic partner — either local or international — who will master plan, finance, build and operate certain assets within the 10 square kilometre block earmarked for this initiative,” said Eng Salim Said al Rawahi (pictured), Operating and Engineering Manager — Khazaen.
“These assets are primarily commercial, industrial and tourism related, for which the selected partner will have to build the required infrastructure,” he added in comments to the Observer.
The 10-square km site represents roughly a tenth of the sprawling 95 sq km Khazaen development, which is designed to drive the Sultanate’s ambitions to evolve into a logistics-centric economy.
Development of Block 1, which encompasses the 10 sq km site, is well under way, according to the official. “We have already completed the leveling of the site, while the power connection is already in place. Tendering for the water connection will be awarded shortly, with a water-well having already been drilled on site. Around 11 per cent of the land within Block 1 has been leased to as many as 14 different parties who will build warehouses, open and closed yards, and other facilities for their activities.” Oman Logistics Company is also expected to shortly announce its choice of candidate for the operation and management of Khazaen’s ‘dry port’ — a first in the Sultanate. The inland port will serve as an intermodal terminal connected by road (and rail in the future) to Sohar Port. Transshipment cargoes brought to the dry port will be dispersed to destinations across Oman and further afield into the Gulf.
“We are close to finalising the selection of an operator for the dry port, and will shortly sign an agreement in this regard,” Eng Al Rawahi said, noting that the facility is expected to come into operation in Q2 2017.
As master developer of Khazaen, OLCo is overseeing the development of a logistics destination envisioning residential, leisure and retail components as well. In addition to transshipment cargoes, Khazaen will also serve as a one-stop hub for warehousing and storage, logistics, consolidation of goods, maintenance or road and rail cargo carriers, and customs clearance services.
Conrad Prabhu –