SOHAR Port and Freezone celebrated its 15th Anniversary in a glittering ceremony at the Kempinski Hotel Muscat, on November 4, 2019.
The event was conducted under the auspices of HE Dr Ahmed Mohammed Al Futaisi, Minister of Transport, alongside the presence of distinguished Excellencies, Honourables, ministers, dignitaries, partners and members of the SOHAR Management.
Commenting on the event, HE Dr Ahmed Mohammed Al Futaisi said, “15 years since the inception of SOHAR, we are proud to have established a world-class port on the coasts of the Sultanate of Oman to serve the region and the world. SOHAR Port has become a pivotal part of the logistics sector in the Sultanate and a major import and export hub for both Oman and the regional countries. The port itself is a success story, with regard to several aspects. This especially includes its achievement of attracting large vessels and international investors, accommodating a variety of industries and handling a diverse range and size of general cargos, containers and other goods.”
HE Dr Mohammed Nasser Al Zaabi, Chairman of the Board of SOHAR Port and Freezone said, “SOHAR Port has created a remarkable footprint and made its presence recognised, both in the region and globally. We are also proud to be ranked as one of the fastest-growing port and free zones in the world, with investments exceeding OMR 10 billion. With our strategic geographical location, providing us access to global markets with an outreach of over 2 billion people, SOHAR Port has played a vital role in line with the national Logistics Strategy 2040. The strategy aims to place the transport sector as the second-highest source of national income alongside putting the Sultanate among the top ten countries for logistics performance by the year 2040.”
An integrated logistics facility
In line with the efforts to promote integrated logistics services, an agreement was signed, under the patronage of HE Dr Ahmed Mohammed Al Futaisi, Minister of Transport, for the development of a truck rest area. The agreement was signed between HE Dr Mohammed Al Zaabi, Chairman of the Board of SOHAR Port and Freezone and Issa Mohammed Ali Al Barmani, Managing Director of Meena Investment Park LLC. The upcoming project will have a total investment of OMR 2.5 million and will take up an area of 50,000 sqm at SOHAR Freezone.
Initiated by the Ministry of Transport and spearheaded by ASYAD, the truck rest area will assist in promoting road safety after the significant increase in the number of trucks at the port.
The area will offer an added value to the logistics infrastructure of SOHAR and to all its tenants from various road transport companies, through the provision of a dedicated area for truck drivers to take breaks during long journeys. Apart from streamlining logistics at SOHAR, it will also aid in saving transit time between destinations and reducing road congestion by preventing drivers from parking at the sides of the road and in residential areas. The importance of this project is also demonstrated by its role of unifying operators and tenants of both the Port and Freezone.
SOHAR vital statistics
Employees of the Port and Freezone paid tribute to the past and future of the SOHAR by narrating their personal memories. Additionally, a video highlighting the notable achievements of the company over the course of 15 years, comprising of invaluable insights from significant spokespeople, was revealed. The event concluded with the presentation of the first copy of the 15th Anniversary SOHAR Port and Freezone Book to the chief guest.
In addition to celebrating the people and achievements, the 15th Anniversary SOHAR Port and Freezone Book also highlighted key statistics about its contribution to Oman over the last 15 years. The throughput grew year on year reaching 61 million tonnes and the Port now handles over 3,400 vessels per year.
62% of Oman’s total imports entered through SOHAR in 2017, alongside 42% of the country’s exported volumes. In the same year, SOHAR also contributed to 4.8% of Oman’s total GDP.
The Port and Freezone is also a trailblazer for job creation. SOHAR has created 10,836 direct job opportunities, with the combined value for both direct and indirect employment amounting to 1.1% of the total number of workers in Oman, which has generated a combined added value of 1.3 billion in 2018.
A promising future
Mark Geilenkirchen said, “SOHAR Port and Freezone has always aimed to expand and reach out to important markets and reinforce relationships with investors from across the globe. Our well-established mission and vision have helped all of the members of the SOHAR family remain focused on delivering business excellence to clients, growing bonds of friendship with the local community and increasing our contribution to the diversification goals for our national economy. With several projects in the pipeline, we continue to grow and continually adapt, keeping ourselves updated with the latest developments and technologies. At SOHAR, we also strive to implement innovative solutions that prove beneficial not only to the organisation but also to the surrounding community.”
“Over the past 15 years, SOHAR has emerged as a global logistics and industrial hub. Looking ahead, we continue to align ourselves with Oman’s diversification and logistics strategies, attract foreign direct investment and increase employment and SME opportunities in Suhar. We are confident that by employing a young and capable workforce, while simultaneously investing in innovative solutions, we will be able to achieve our strategic objectives,” Omar Mahmood Al Mahrizi, DCEO of SOHAR Port and Freezone - CEO of the Freezone concluded.