SOHAR Freezone Expanding All the Way
SOHAR Freezone has seen a considerable growth over the recent period and there are just weeks before the much-anticipated relocation of all commercial traffic from Muscat to SOHAR takes place.
“In just six months we have expanded almost every aspect of our operations, including the US$130 million relocation and expansion of the Oman International Container Terminal and a US$2.5 million investment to connect infrastructure that has cut turnaround times at Oiltanking Odfjell’s oil and gas storage facilities.”
“Cargo volumes continue to grow at a rate beyond the 50 million tonnes per year that we have witnessed in recent years, and we are also seeing growth in industries beyond those that were originally set up when SOHAR was launched as a joint venture with the Port of Rotterdam back in 2002,” SOHAR Freezone Chief Executive Officer Jamal Aziz explained.
As part of the company’s mid-year review, Mr. Aziz highlighted plans for a national food reserve and dedicated agricultural terminal, as well as air and rail links, as an indication of the bright future that lies ahead. He also reflected on how a deal with one of Oman’s largest business houses, Saud Bahwan, will see SOHAR’s automotive cluster grow to 200,000 cars annually – bringing global manufacturers Lexus, Kia, Ford, Toyota, and Daihatsu to the region. Nissan and BMW are already represented at SOHAR by Suhail Bahwan.
Having witnessed sustained interest in SOHAR’s core business areas – petrochemicals, metals, and logistics, including a US$60 million agreement with a UK-led consortium to build the largest rare earth metals plant of its kind outside of China, Mr. Aziz emphasised the sustainability that is driving growth and creating jobs.
“The tremendous work that has gone into growing the business during the first half of this year is no flash in the pan. There is a very clear strategy to what we are trying to achieve, and all of the markets that we are entering are growing with exceptional speed. This will be important as we consolidate progress over the course of the next decade. It will also become the cornerstone of job creation at SOHAR,” he said.
Press Release, July 31, 2014