Limited impact: Marine operations resume after daylong temporary suspension as a precautionary measure
Sohar Port and Freezone, by far the biggest economic asset on Oman’s Batinah coast anchored by a massive industrial and petrochemicals hub, was largely spared Shaheen’s fury as the tropical storm battered large parts of North and South Batinah governorates overnight on Sunday.
Ahead of the storm’s arrival, the harbour basin and anchorage were cleared of vessels as the port announced a temporary suspension of marine operations amid forecasts of 8-metre high waves and winds gusting at 70 knots. But the impact on the port area was relatively milder than anticipated, prompting the port management to resume operations early on Monday.
“SOHAR Port’s marine operations have resumed as of October 4 at 6 am, following the severe weather conditions caused by Cyclone Shaheen,” said Mark Gilenkirchen, CEO. “There are no reports of any infrastructural damages or injuries. The safety and security of all SOHAR workers and stakeholders remains top priority.”
In a statement, he added: “Days prior to landfall, we activated our Emergency Response Plan to ensure that all necessary controls are in place to mitigate any risks and to safeguard business continuity. Our HSSE team and concerned authorities will continue to be on the ground to monitor the tropical depression as downgraded by the Civil Aviation Authority. We are grateful to our teams and partners who worked continually for the last 48 hours to ensure our safety and the sustainability of our operations.”
Earlier, on Sunday, Hutchison Ports Sohar – which operates the container terminal at Sohar Port – announced a temporary suspension of services at the terminal effective from 8am on October 3.
“You are encouraged to pick up or deliver your containers before 2 October midnight, to avoid any delays. Please plan your activities accordingly,” Hutchison Ports Sohar said in a notification to shippers. “We are closely monitoring the situation and updates from relevant authorities. We shall keep you updated of further developments on the same.”
Sohar Port accounts for the lion’s share of domestic imports and exports.