Sohar: Sohar Port and Free Zone is a major economic center in the Sultanate of Oman, as it currently contributes the equivalent of 2.1 percent annually to the Sultanate of Oman’s gross domestic product.
Emil Hochsteden, CEO of Sohar Port, said that over the past 20 years, the port and the region have achieved a total investment estimated at $27 billion in the total industrial complex of the port.
He added in a statement to the Oman News Agency that Sohar Port and the free zone contribute RO 18.4 billion to the total volume of trade exchange in the Sultanate of Oman, meaning 45 percent of the total volume of trade exchange.
Regarding the achievements achieved at the port in the third quarter of 2023, he explained that liquid bulk products, which include liquid goods transported in large quantities, witnessed an increase of 13 percent, reaching 18 million metric tons, compared to 16 million metric tons during the third quarter of 2022, and an increase in the number of ships calling at the port increased by 2 percent with 2,427 calls compared to 2,384 calls in 2022; This indicates the level of port activity and its ability to handle goods effectively.
He pointed out that Sohar Port also witnessed a 4 percent increase in the numbers of vehicle carriers, which is a means of transporting goods that uses cargo ships designed to transport wheeled goods, including cars, trucks, construction equipment, and others.
In the field of the environment, Emil Hochsteden said that Sohar Port and Free Zone, in cooperation with industrial tenants, launched the Sohar and Free Zone Zero Neutrality Charter, which is an initiative dedicated to accelerating the Sultanate of Oman’s transition towards carbon neutrality by 2050. The Charter serves as a platform for stakeholders to meet to exchange ideas and strategies and contribute together. In advancing the region’s path towards sustainability.
For his part, Omar bin Mahmoud Al Mahrezi, CEO of Sohar Free Zone and Executive Vice President of Sohar Port, pointed out that the port and free zone provide a range of services including warehousing, logistics and manufacturing facilities, making it an integrated center for companies looking to start their operations in the Sultanate of Oman, where the port covers about 80 percent of the import and export activities in the Sultanate of Oman.
He explained that Sohar Port and Free Zone witnessed the signing of 11 agreements since the beginning of the year until today, in addition to securing new investments worth $632 million. As for the achievements in the free zone in the third quarter of 2023, engineer Omar Al Mahrezi stated that there are currently a total of 53 countries in the region and there is a significant increase in the use of warehouses, which increased by 86 percent to reach 27 thousand square kilometers from 15 thousand square kilometers. Last year, he pointed out that this growth comes as a result of the free zone’s strategic location and its ability to store and distribute large quantities of goods with high efficiency.
He said that a sub-usufruct agreement was signed with the International Fine Chemicals Company to establish a polymer manufacturing factory in Sohar Port with an investment value of $300 million and an area of 240 thousand square metres, which will serve various industries, including energy production, agriculture, wastewater management and industry.
A land lease agreement was also signed with the Green Ferro Alloys Company to establish the first silicon metal factory in the Sultanate of Oman in the Sohar Free Zone with a total investment amounting to $68 million, which strengthens Sohar’s position as a global commercial center and represents a milestone in economic growth. It meets the growing demand for silicon metal in the regions of Asia, Europe and North America.
In the field of social responsibility initiatives, Al-Mahrazi explained that Sohar Port and the free zone work in an integrated manner with various governmental and private community institutions with the aim of improving multiple aspects related to society, and contributing to aspects that enhance the achievement of goals that would expand the social returns of the economic system and play a constructive role in the well-being and development. Surrounding communities, with a focus on entrepreneurship, youth, health, safety and environment, most notably the Sidra initiative.
He stressed that Sohar Port and Free Zone is committed to an influential and effective role towards society and improving it through the implementation of initiatives, including the initiative to support health care institutions by purchasing medical equipment for Sohar Hospital to enhance its ability to provide high-quality services to patients, noting that Sohar Port and Free Zone allocated a percentage 20 percent of its annual social responsibility budget is for the benefit of the Omani Charitable Activities Authority.
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