SOHAR Port and Freezone: Best Regional Logistics Hub Middle East 2017

As one of the world’s fastest-growing logistical hubs, SOHAR Port and Freezone, in the Sultanate of Oman, midway between Dubai and Muscat, is welcoming international investors to its 6,500-hectare (65km2) development. Investments in excess of US$26 billion have already been committed and are transforming the port and its adjacent free trade zone into a major logistics and manufacturing centre for the region. The port has existing clusters for metals, petrochemicals and logistics, and is now adding a new Food Zone, as the region’s first dedicated agro-bulk terminal together with food manufacturing, packaging and logistics industries.

SOHAR Port and Freezone is a 50-50 joint venture between the Sultanate of Oman and the Port of Rotterdam – the largest seaport in Europe, which employs 180,000 people and handles over 40,000 ships annually. SOHAR Port and Freezone is located just outside the congested Strait of Hormuz, but within easy reach of the major Middle East markets of Iran, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. SOHAR sits at the crossroads of historic east-west trading routes, allowing businesses easy access by land, sea, and air to over 3.5 billion customers across the Middle East, Indian subcontinent, eastern Africa, south and east Asia.

In order to optimise efficiency and set operational benchmarks at the highest international standards, SOHAR leverages the experience of leading port management companies to operate its terminals, such as Hutchison for containers; Oiltanking for liquid bulk; and C. Steinweg for project and general cargo. The first 500-hectare phase of the planned 4,500-hectare Freezone is almost fully leased out and planning is underway for phase-two.

This is an endorsement of a successful formula which includes an abundant supply of energy, a large pool of skilled labour, bonded connections to the adjacent port for feedstock and maritime logistics, and excellent connectivity across the region with many new and uncongested highways.

The judging panel notes that SOHAR Freezone is already home to over 25 tenant industries, including ferrochrome smelters and vehicle assembly plants. The judges congratulate SOHAR Port and Freezone on winning the 2017 Best Regional Logistics Hub Middle East Award.

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