Container-terminal operator Hutchinson Whampoa signed the development agreement for establishing a new 70-hectare container terminal for Oman International Container Terminal. This will raise capacity from 800,000 Twenty-foot equivalent units (TEU) to 1,500,000 TEU.
The agreement was signed by Sultan al Habsi, chairman of the board, and Andre Toet, CEO, representing Sohar Industrial Port Co, and Andy Tsoi, CEO of Oman International Container Terminal.
According to a press release, the construction of the terminal is expected to start in the first months of 2013 in order to ensure a soft opening towards the end of this year.
The first three new Post-Panamax cranes are expected to reach Sohar by this summer. The total investment involved in this expansion is over RO50mn. This will not only expand the total capacity of the terminal, but also increase the vessel capacity that can be served in Sohar.
The current terminal can handle ships up to 6,500 TEU, and thanks to the deep draft and the new cranes, handling capacity will go up to 10,000-11,000 TEU ships. This puts Sohar in a competitive position for shipping lines to bring their cargoes with direct lines to Oman.