Under the auspice of HE Said Hamdoon, Undersecretary Ministry of Transport and Communication, Oman International Container Terminal ground breaking ceremony took place on May 16th to mark the start of the expansion of their container terminal capacity in Sohar.
The construction will pave the way to increase the terminals’ capacity from the current 800,000 TEU to 1,500,000 TEU towards the end of this year. It underwrites the faith of the company of the potential of the North Batinah region to serve as a gateway for the cargo flows of Oman, the surrounding GCC countries and the Indian subcontinent.
The ceremony was further attended by senior representatives of the shipping industry, China Harbour Construction Company, Sohar Industrial Port Company and OICT. The construction will enable the consolidation of the existing and future container handling operations at Port of Sohar.
It will have a total quay length of approximately 1 kilometer and 68 hectares container yard. The terminal will be outfitted with the 4 current quay cranes with 3 additional post-panamax quay cranes and 14 RTG’s. The unique deep water availability alongside OICT’s Terminal C enables them to increase the size of container vessels to 9,000 TEU. The investments in this expansion are estimated to reach around OMR 50 million.
“One key achievement of the strong development of container volumes in Sohar is that they are being built based upon a captive market; a market that keeps expanding beyond the local horizon, even into the UAE. This will attract more mainliners in the near future, further reducing the logistics costs in the Omani supply chain. A consortium of large container shipping lines, the so-called “G6” is already expanding in using Sohar as their port of call. Combined with the transition of commercial cargoes from Muscat Port to Sohar by the end of this year and the fast pace development of Sohar Freezone, this will serve as a strong addition to the captive base”, according to Mr. Andre Toet, CEO of Sohar Industrial Port Company.
“We truly believe that our expansion and the opportunities offered by Sohars’ location will stimulate further increase of activities in Sohar. It will not only make Sohar more attractive to bring more transshipment cargo, it will also offer an excellent opportunity to bring back the Omani cargoes which are currently being served by neighboring country ports. This volume is estimated to be around 200.000 TEU per annum, approximately 25% of the total Omani domestic market”, as Captain Rashid Jamil, CEO of OICT, quoted.
“This will increase the possibilities for the trade to increaser their logistic activities in Oman itself and therewith open up more local job opportunities.”
The initiated expansion is seen only as phase I of the expansion of the container activities in Sohar. Whilst working on the current project, Port of Sohar and OICT are already looking into next phase opportunities, which will entail the development of Terminal D by 2018. This will open up an additional capacity of 2,5 mio TEU to embark on the rapid growing interest of shipping lines to use Sohar as an import hub in the region.
Press Release, May 20, 2013