Sohar Port and Freezone reached a major milestone over the weekend with the arrival of the first 10,000 TEU vessel at its newly expanded Oman International Container Terminal (OICT).
Under the auspices of His Excellency Dr Ahmed Mohammed Salem Al-Futaisi, Oman’s Minister for Transport and Communication, APL’s Savannah docked at the new facility on May 23rd.
“This is another milestone in the story of Sohar Port and Freezone,” declared Sohar Port and Freezone chief executive Jamal Aziz.
“From humble beginnings we’ve now developed into one of the fastest growing port and freezones in the world and now eagerly look to the future to continue our incredible success story.”
OICT signed an agreement early last year for the new 70-hectare container terminal to increase capacity from 800,000 TEU to 1,500,000 TEU. The new terminal includes seven post-Panamax quay cranes and 14 rubber-tyred gantry cranes.
As part of the US$130 million expansion, the port’s draught was increased to allow vessels in excess of 10,000 TEU to safely call Sohar, where previously only those with a capacity of up to 6,500 TEU could dock at the port.
In a statement, Sohar said that this increased capability will further underscore its competitive position. Many of the world’s most renowned shipping companies such as Maersk Line, UASC, CMA and APL already operate from the existing container terminal, yet these recent developments enable shipping lines to bring their mainline vessels directly into Oman. Maersk Line has already announced that it will transfer its Muscat service calls to the new facility in Sohar.
“We are committed and geared towards catering for, and creating growth in container traffic,” said Sohar Port and Freezone chief executivem, Andre Toet.
“We’re in prime position to attract shipping lines to channel their North Oman specific boxes through SOHAR rather than Jebel Ali or other neighbouring ports.”