Totalling an investment of US$24mn, the agreement will see the development of the first 50 hectares of useable land within the new port expansion, which is expected to be fully completed by the fourth quarter of 2018.
The agreement was signed on Wednesday at a ceremony held at Sohar Port and Freezone head office in Sohar, according to a press release.
Signing the agreement on behalf of Sohar Port and Freezone were the CEO, Mark Geilenkirchen, and deputy CEO, Jamal Aziz; while DINV-EMW JV was represented by Alberto Mino, area manager of Dredging International NV, and Yves Aertssen, director of the EMW group.
Commenting on the importance of expanding operational capacity at the port, Geilenkirchen said, “This expansion is essential for Sohar Port and Freezone to compete on a larger scale, and highlights our emergence as a logistics hub of choice within the Middle East. The Sohar Port South Development will support increased trade flows in the sultanate and will allow shipping lines to launch more direct calls to the port, opening the doors to a greater variety of customers coming to Sohar in the future. The added land area at the port will significantly boost our abilities to handle larger volumes of cargo traffic as well as create new and sustainable jobs in Sohar.”
“Investors are lining up to take advantage of the additional 200 hectares being offered as part of the Sohar Port South Development. One of the first investors on-board is Trescorp, a Singapore-based oil and petroleum products trading firm. In September 2017, the company signed a pact with Sohar Port and Freezone to develop a 45-hectare terminal for the handling, storage and blending of crude oil, fuel oil and diesel at the port.
Trescorp’s Sohar venture requires deep water berths of 25m drafts to handle supertankers of up to 320,000DWT capacity. Total investment in the project, which will include facilities for other petroleum products in the next phase, is estimated at US$600mn and will generate significant employment opportunities within Sohar Port and Freezone,” Geilenkirchen said.
The Sohar Port South Development involves extensive land reclamation, which will ultimately add 200 hectares in total to the present capacity of Sohar Port, which currently stands at around 2,000 hectares.
Under the terms of the development agreement, the first phase includes the engineering, land reclamation and stabilisation, and construction of approximately the 50 hectares of usable land within the port area, together with soil improvement, 1,310m of shoreline protection, storm water drainage, and navigation aids.
“Sohar Port is currently one of the major ports in the Middle East, a focal harbour that links the Far East with the Arab region. The expansion of the port’s planned infrastructure is a key factor that will continue to support Sohar Port and Freezone and Oman’s rapidly growing logistics sector over the coming years. DINV-EMW JV, with its strong history in the Middle East, considers this a strategic project that will continue to support the growth of companies in the Sultanate and the region as a whole,” Aertssen said.