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Promising outlook for Sohar Port and Freezone

22 Nov 2021 By OUR CORRESPONDENT

Sohar – The future outlook for Sohar Port and Freezone (SOHAR) is promising as they continue to grow and attract new business and investors, according to senior officials.

During a media tour of the port and freezone on Monday, SOHAR officials said that the year 2021 has been very successful for the port and freezone, despite the challenging economic environment, with increases in cargo reported every quarter in comparison to the same periods in the previous year.

Mark Geilenkirchen, CEO of Sohar Port, said, “Our outlook for 2021 is promising as we enter the final quarter. SOHAR has attracted new business and investors throughout the year, all the while, successfully navigating the COVID-19 crisis by introducing effective measures to keep employees, tenants and the community safe.”

“Looking to the future, we have strategically set our course to capitalize on our location, resources and competitive-edge as well as invest in new technologies to cement Oman’s leadership position on the global logistics arena,” he said.

SOHAR is playing a vital role in connecting Oman to markets around the world, thus contributing to a stable supply of commodities for the local market while providing local businesses with greater global outreach.

“Once the road to Saudi Arabia opens and as we continue to unlock our downstream revenue streams, we are confident that further growth and development is in our future,” Geilenkirchen noted.

Sohar Port is the main gateway for import-export in the sultanate, handling over 70 per cent of the sultanate’s imports and over 40 per cent of exported and 80 per cent of re-exported goods.

“The thriving economy, diversity of industry and potential to transit through Oman to Eastern and Western markets has already made SOHAR an important commodity for international companies. Our expansion plans are set to increase the opportunities even further and enhance our reputation and that of Oman as a trade and manufacturing hub,” said Omar Mahmood al Mahrizi, CEO of Sohar Freezone and deputy CEO of Sohar Port.

“Against this promising backdrop and as economies gradually reawaken and fully resume operations, we expect our overall throughout for 2021 to be the strongest yet,” he added.

Given the prevailing global circumstances, the growth in activity within the port and freezone is very much a positive indicator of the progress SOHAR continues to make in terms of attracting investment and positioning Oman as a major global logistics hub, the officials said.

Green hydrogen hub plan

Sohar Port and Freezon is exploring the potential to host a large-scale green hydrogen generation hub powered by solar power plants. The planned facility will create carbon-free hydrogen from low-cost solar power, stored for use on demand, SOHAR officials informed.

In a white paper released by CEO Mark Gielenkirchen, he outlined how green hydrogen has the potential to decarbonize a range of heavy industries long associated with carbon emissions.

Sohar Port is working in collaboration with the Port of Rotterdam, as well as Hydrogen Rise, and other research institutes worldwide, to identify cost-competitive solutions for the adoption of hydrogen as an alternative to natural gas.

SOHAR has also engaged with leading Italian energy companies including Eni, Saipem, Snam, Magaldi and Ansaldo Energia to explore cooperation between the two countries in the development of green hydrogen and renewable energies. An agreement with Italian companies will offer Oman access to cutting-edge technology in the field of alternative energy sources already in development in Europe.

Situated at the center of global trade routes between Asia and Europe, and halfway between Dubai and Muscat, SOHAR is one of the largest industrial and logistic projects in the sultanate. It is also one of the fastest-growing ports in the world.

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