Sohar Port and Freezone revealed improved 2016 performance figures during its annual business reception in Muscat last month. Despite generally lower revenues and a slump in activity in the global maritime industry, throughput at Sohar was up again and exceeded an average of one million tonnes a week for 2016. Container traffic was up by 15% compared to 2015, break bulk up by 18%, and liquid bulk throughput increased by 12% year-on-year. Sohar received well over 2,600 vessel calls in 2016, also a significant increase despite the global trend towards larger ships.
A new Food Zone was one of the main highlights of plans announced for 2017, while Sohar Port South is a significant additional land reclamation area, currently under construction, designed to accommodate new industrial projects that will be announced soon. Also planned are new, deepwater berths to the south of the existing port area.
Sohar Freezone will also witness a number of new developments in 2017, as plans for the second phase of the Freezone take shape. Probably the most futuristic plans on the table are for an Innovation Zone inside the new Freezone area, to be built in close cooperation with Port of Rotterdam. “Together with private sector companies, international research institutes and some of the world’s top universities, we are seeking innovative solutions across a broad range of issues that affect our shipping, logistics and industrial sectors,” explained Mark Geilenkirchen, Sohar Port chief executive.