Muscat: Marking a milestone in the creation of a vibrant new hub which will bring benefits to the Sultanate, ASYAD Group subsidiary Marafi and Qatar-based company Dolphin Integrated today signed a shareholders’ agreement to develop an aggregate terminal at Sohar Port.
The proposed terminal with a loading capacity of approximately eight million tons per year will enable large volume export of gabbro, a coarse-grained rock used in asphalt and other minerals. The project will be developed in two phases – the hybrid phase which will facilitate aggregate exports by the end of 2018 and with a capacity of 8 million metric tonnes per annum followed by the permanent phase equipped with state of the art stacker-reclaimer system, conveyor and semi-automated ship loaders to be commissioned in 2020. The capacity will be increased after the completion of the permanent phase to 12 million metric tonnes per annum.
Marafi acting CEO Dr Ahmed al Abri signed the agreement with Dolphin Integrated chairman Ghanem Al Khayarin, in Doha, Qatar.
ASYAD Group Chief Executive Officer Abdulrahman Salim Al Hatmi stated “We have established this joint venture to accelerate the roll out of a landmark aggregate terminal in Oman “We are particularly proud of the partnership. The signing of this agreement indicates confidence in the strength and resilience of the Oman economy, which continues to register a healthy growth,” he added.
Al Hatmi emphasised that the terminal will pave the way for enhanced aggregates export capabilities from Oman. Apart from attracting foreign investments to the country, it will also lead to increase job opportunities, he said.
The agreement is expected to provide extra impetus to ASYAD’s ambitious plans to reach 32 million dry bulk by 2023.
“There are tremendous opportunities to be secured from this project,” confirmed Marafi acting CEO Dr Ahmed Al Abri. “We have no doubt that our partnership with Dolphin will open new horizons for the growth of gabbro, limestone and minerals sector given that a significant number of quarries are operating in the northern part of the Sultanate within close proximity to Sohar Port. We are confident that our combined vision, expertise and experience will enable us to fulfill the objectives of this project. We will deliver a terminal of the highest standard that will create a demand for jobs and help boost the growth of the country.”
Ghanem al Khayarin, chairman, Dolphin Integrated said, “We are looking forward to developing the terminal that will give a boost to the aggregate market in Oman. This signing enhances the avenues of existing cooperation between Qatar and Oman. We will focus on maximising value for both countries. We hope that developing an aggregate terminal would contribute in enabling Oman’s plan to increase exports and international competitiveness while meeting the needs of gabbro import markets.”
The terminal, which has a potential to become an international hub owing to its strategic location, is expected to benefit a wide spectrum of stakeholders including local quarries owners, logistic companies, and businesses operating in the minerals and aggregate business, in addition to gabbro and limestone import countries.
This agreement is pursuant to the pact signed on May 23 this year between MARAFI-SOHAR and Sohar Port and Freezone to develop and operate a new high-capacity mineral aggregate terminal at Sohar Port.
The objective of the newly established Marafi, a subsidiary of the government owned holding company ASYAD, is to grow Oman into a top 10 Global Logistics Hub. It also seeks to develop the port and forge global business relationships.