Sohar Port South expansion gets under way

Phase 1 of an ambitious effort to expand the waterfront capacity of Sohar Port and Free Zone (Sohar) has commenced, according to the industrial port’s Chief Executive Officer.
Mark Geilenkirchen (pictured) said Phase 1 of the Sohar Port South Development — as the expansion is dubbed — will add around 50 hectares to the industrial port’s current capacity of 2,000 hectares. A further 210 hectares will be added in Phase 2, effectively boosting the port’s capacity by around 10 per cent.
“Completion of Phase 1 is targeted in January 2019, while the Phase 2 capacity will be completed two years later,” said Geilenkirchen, adding that work is currently focused on moving sand accumulating on the coast into the sea where the expansion is envisioned. This will be followed by the dredging phase, the official told the Observer.
Last April, Sohar International Development Company (SIDC) — the investment arm of Sohar Port & Freezone — signed a contract with the joint venture of Dredging International NV of Belgium and UAE-based Earthmoving Worldwide to undertake Phase 1 of the Sohar Port South Construction Package 1 at a cost of $24 million.
The Phase 1 package includes the construction of 1.3 kilometres of shoreline protection, land reclamation and soil stabilisation to create 50 hectares of usable land. A good chunk of this new swathe of real estate is earmarked for Trescorp, a Singapore-based oil and petroleum products trading firm, which signed a deal with Sohar Port last September to develop a 45-hectare terminal for the handling, storage and blending of crude oil, fuel oil and diesel at the port.
Trescorp envisions an investment of $600 million in the new terminal.
Another likely customer is international energy giant Total, which is also “very interested” in setting up operations at the Sohar Port South Development, said Geilenkirchen.
Total plans to develop a regional hub for Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) bunkering services at the port to supply LNG to ships as bunker fuel.
Other prospective customers are being lined up as tenants as well, according to Geilenkirchen.