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Sohar Port earmarks 6 million sqm of land for green projects

Positive growth: Media briefing highlights port and free zone’s continued strong performance
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Sohar Port and Free Zone has announced the allocation of around 6 million square metres for renewable energy projects, CEO Emile Hoogsteden (pictured) said.

He made the announcement at a media roundtable hosted by the company, which operates the country’s main commercial gateway and adjoining free zone, on the North Batinah coast. The land allocation, he noted, would benefit from extensive studies on green hydrogen as an alternative fuel source.

At the briefing, Hoogsteden highlighted some of the important developments characterizing Sohar Port’s performance so far this year and its positioning for stronger growth in a number of areas. At the end of the third quarter of this year, cargo throughput reached 21 million tonnes, with the port handling a total of about 2,225 ships. As many as 1,924 companies as associated with the operation of the port and free zone, which accounts for a notable 2.6 per cent (equivalent to RO 601.4 million) of the Sultanate of Oman’s GDP, the CEO noted.

Among the noteworthy developments of the year, the CEO said, was the signing of a MoU between Oman and the United Arab Emirates for the establishment of the Oman-Etihad Rail Project that will connect from SOHAR with the UAE network.

“The two parties aim to unlock new opportunities by strengthening commercial exchange and social cohesion, connecting key urban centres, facilitating travel between communities and providing seamless transport solutions between economic and industrial zones in Oman and the UAE, including SOHAR Freezone,” he said.

Equally significant is the new land route connecting Oman and Saudi Arabia. The overland route cuts the driving time between the countries down by 16 hours and opens up easier trade between the two countries through SOHAR Freezone, he said, adding that a number of Saudi based businesses are currently operating at Sohar Freezone.

A total of 12 agreements were signed so far this year – pacts that underscore Sohar Port and Free Zone’s growth, said Hoogsteden. They include an agreement with C Steinweg Oman, General Cargo Terminal Operator at SOHAR Port to expand its storage facilities with 27 hectares. The new facility will be fully operational within four months and add storage for minerals and raw materials for export, making C Steinweg Oman more efficient and facilitate growth for clients, SOHAR Port and Oman in general.

Likewise, an agreement was signed with Arkan Sohar Logistics to develop a port-based Container Freight Station (CFS) and logistics complex that will occupy 26000 m2. Through this agreement, Arkan Sohar Logistics will offer bonded and non-bonded facilities, ambient and covered storage, as well as temperature controlled, dry, chilled and frozen storage facilities. These facilities will also provide value added services such as cross stuffing for import, re-export and transshipment cargo, lashing, crating, staging, labelling, re-packing, kitting, and order processing

A further nine agreements have been signed in relation to SOHAR Freezone. It includes an agreement with Lalan Middle East to build a Glove packing plant along with an ETO sterilization unit on 5000 sqm of land at SOHAR Freezone. As the first of such fully-fledged facility in the Sultanate, once built, it will supply the local, regional and international market with surgical sterile gloves and disposable nitrile and latex gloves.

An expansion agreement was also signed with Eagle Ceramic FZC LLC of around 15000 sqm additional to their current leased area of 20000 sqm. The expansion will allow for the production of main ceramic clay, which is a major component for producing ceramic tiles.

United Projects Achievements (FZC), another company, has received the lease of 25000 sqm of land at the Freezone on which a new Cloud Data Centre is to be constructed. The investment is also in line with our plans to make SOHAR Freezone a frontrunner in innovation and a smart, technologically advanced ecosystem, while helping attract future ICT investments and diversifying our income sources.

Additionally, an agreement with Penicillin General Integrated Industrial Company (Pen-G) for the establishment of a pharmaceutical manufacturing facility plant for the manufacture of key pharmaceutical start-up material at the SOHAR Freezone.

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