MUSCAT: Hutchison Ports Sohar held a groundbreaking ceremony on Sunday, marking the start of construction on its new Solar Powered Integrated Inspection Facility Project.
In attendance at the groundbreaking were Eng Khamis al Shamaki, Transport Under-Secretary of the Ministry of Transport, Communications and Information Technology for Transport; Mark Geilenkirchen, CEO of SOHAR Port and Freezone, and various government officials and representatives of Hutchison Ports Sohar.
The new $30 million project will be a part of the terminal development plans to enhance the inspection services for inbound and outbound containers. The integrated inspection facility will further support Oman Customs and other related authorities to seamlessly turnover the inspection with enhanced security measures under the Sultanate of Oman’s Logistics Strategy (SOLS) 2040.
In remarks, the Under-Secretary of Transport said the project illustrates a true partnership by the company with government to facilitate smoother and timely handling and clearance of goods, additionally by adopting new simplified processes and standards it will improve and facilitate world-class operations of the port.
“We are looking forward to see its impact and that such project is implemented in other ports. It will also result in improvements to our domestic and global logistics performance as per the Logistics Performance Index and its key dimensions'', he stated.
The project is designed to accelerate the process of Customs inspection through high standard services, and it will ease the process of releasing the goods from the container terminal. In addition, by using the X-ray container scanners, the new project will help our inspectors to distinguish between those containers with high risk and low risk, Colonel Said al Ghaithi, Director General of Customs, Royal Oman Police commented.
A solar powered system will be installed on the new infrastructure, existing buildings and car parking areas which will result in a reduction of approximately 5,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions per year.
The project will be spread across a total area of 37,000 sqm within the Terminal C premises and is expected to complete by mid-2023. Once ready, it is set to be the largest and first integrated one-stop-shop for all the relevant government authorities to handle the clearance in the Sultanate of Oman.
Mark Geilenkirchen, CEO of SOHAR Port, said, “Hutchison Ports Sohar is one of SOHAR’s biggest success stories and we are delighted with the progress the company has made. The new facility in the terminal will be vital in attracting world class tenants to the complex and improving customer experience and satisfaction. This will continue to create an environment where business can thrive and contribute to the ongoing development of the national economy.”
“This integrated inspection facility project will be transformative for the clearance process but more importantly, it will significantly expand terminal’s ability to serve the growing community needs through a superior one-stop shop service station'', Anacin Kum, CEO of Hutchison Ports Sohar said.
The inspection facility will be temperature-controlled and outfitted with cargo scanners at the inspection platforms. Out of the 66 container inspection bays, a dedicated section of about a third of the total inspection facility will be reserved for refrigerated and foodstuff inspection. The three X-ray container scanner portal units and Container Radiation Monitor System will be integrated with the security control system for scanning of containers. The project also has a reserved area for safe and clean laboratory testing process to ensure food safety control on the growing imports and exports in the country.