Freezone Sohar - A driver of business growth

Muscat - 

Freezone Sohar is spearheaded by Sohar International Development Company (SIDC), a joint venture between the government of Oman, the Port of Rotterdam from the Netherlands and SKIL Infrastructure from India.

Freezone Sohar, will further accentuate the industrial ports' importance as a driver of economic growth in Oman. The development of the 4,500-hectare zone is planned in five phases. Due to its fit-to-suit incentives and value propositions, Freezone Sohar is an promising location for investors in the following clusters – steel manufacturing and processing, trade and logistics, oil and gas, petrochemicals, minerals and the aggregates industry, ceramics, food, food logistics and food processing.

Operating from a strategic

location on the Arabian Peninsula, Freezone Sohar offers an ideal environment for business. The combination of market access, sound global logistics and attractive business incentives ensure that a company will enjoy the freedom to do business

Located outside the Strait of Hormuz, Sohar is within easy reach of the economies of the Gulf and the Indian subcontinent with great connectivity to neighbouring business hubs like Abu Dhabi, Dubai, and Muscat. The biggest consumer market in the region, Saudi Arabia, can be reached directly from Sohar.

Freezone Sohar, along with other initiatives, such as the expansion of the Port of Sohar and investments in a deepwater jetty to support a huge iron ore pelletising plant by Brazilian giant Vale, will further accentuate the industrial port's importance as a driver of economic growth in the Batinah region.

Development of the 4,500-hectare zone is planned in four phases. Envisaged in the first phase, covering an area of 500 hectares, are a number of downstream industrial and petrochemical ventures, warehousing and logistics services, and so-called 'soft' investments, such as educational, medical and other service-related amenities.

A master-plan drawn up for Phase 1 of the Freezone Sohar project envisions investments organised into the following clusters – trading and logistics, light manufacturing, petrochemicals, aluminium activities, iron and steel, cement grinding and education and services .

Operating from a strategic location on the Arabian Peninsula, Freezone Sohar offers an ideal environment for business growth. The combination of wide market access, sound global logistics and attractive business incentives ensure that a company will enjoy the ultimate freedom.

 

Port of Sohar

Port of Sohar is a deep sea port in the Middle East situated in the sultanate, 220km northwest of Muscat. The management of this industrial port lies with Sohar Industrial Port Company (SIPC), a 50/50 joint venture between the Government of Oman and the Port of Rotterdam.

The original agreement between the two parties was signed in 2002 and first industrial developments started in 2004. Today, the port is fully operational with state-of-the-art facilities and terminals. With current investments exceeding $14bn it is one of the world's largest port development projects.

Port of Sohar houses three clusters: logistics, petrochemicals and metals. Companies such as Vale, Air Liquide, Larsen and Toubro, Methanol Holding International and Jindal Power & Steel are established in Port of Sohar. The independent terminals are operated by C. Steinweg Oman for general cargo, a joint venture between Oiltanking and Odfjell for liquid cargo and Hutchinson Whampoa for containers

 

Milestones

1990: Conclusion of the study by Japan International Cooperation Agency recommending the site selection of the Port of Sohar and the Special Economic Zone.

1999: Commencement of construction on the Port of Sohar

2002: A Concession agreement was signed between the Government of Oman and the Port of Rotterdam to develop and manage the Sohar Industrial Port Company on a 50/50 share basis. This includes developing a zone for heavy industries and building cargo terminals in an area of approximately 2000 hectares.

2003: First lease agreement was signed between Sohar Industrial Port Company and Sohar Refinery; followed by a similar agreement for the general cargo terminal with Steinweg.

2004: Commencement of ship operations, and development for the industrial projects. Received  the first cargo vessel at the general cargo terminal.

2007: An addendum to the concession agreement was signed between Oman and the Port of Rotterdam thus expanding the concession area to include 4,500 hectares for Special Economic Zone.

2007: A broad master file vision of the North Batinah was prepared by the Port of Rotterdam under the supervision of the Ministry of Transport and Communications, and in collaboration with the other governmental bodies and Sohar Industrial Port Company.

2009: SKIL of India is included as shareholder to jointly develop and manage Freezone Sohar.

2010: Freezone Sohar incentive package for investors has been formalised by means of Royal Decree.

2011: The government announces the decision to concentrate cargo movements in Sohar.

 

ADVANTAGE OMAN

Availability of lands and offices at very competitive rates.

Highly developed infrastru-ture and communication facilities.

Trained and multilingual manpower of various cultures.

High level of administrative and technical skilled labor force.

Availability of excellent corporate support and local partnerships.

International ports – Port Sultan Qaboos and Salalah Port – one of the largest transshipment port in the Middle East, and  Sohar Port.

International airport with daily direct flights to the Middle East, Indian subcontinent, Europe and Africa.

Fast and easy access to emerging markets in the Middle East, Asia and Africa.

Assistance in marketing local produce.

Government incentives for industries.

 Increased growth of local investment.

Membership in World Trade Organisation (WTO).

Wide choices for housing.

Professional schools and colleges, and excellent healthcare

Wide options for shopping.

World standard sports and recreational facilities.

Unpolluted environment, pristine beaches and beautiful landscape, rich in terms of history, culture and heritage.

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