The future of Sohar Port and Freezone is looking quite bright. The plans to make it a business hub were charted out so that more and more businesses can be attracted to create a flourishing economy here. And after successfully implementing almost all of them, the government is now planning several other initiatives to continue developing Sohar Port as a powerhouse of business dealings. The year 2021 proved to be quite a successful one for this bustling port despite all the economic and other logistics challenges that the ongoing pandemic posed. There was a steady increase in cargo in every quarter as compared to the same periods in the previous years.
And now the port authorities are looking to end the year on a high closing the final quarter with a bang. Sohar has attracted a number of investors and businesses all around the year, while carefully and effectively navigating the COVID-19 pandemic and ensuring the safety of the employees, professionals, and the entire community. The port is now looking at capitalizing on its strategic positioning, and resources by implementing new ideas and cutting-edge technology in order to cement Oman’s position as one of the leading most countries in the logistics industry.
Till now, Sohar has been at the centre stage as it connects Oman to several global markets opening the local economy to different kinds of products from all around the world while providing a wider reach to the local players. The authorities are also hoping that once the roadways to Saudi Arabia are done, the growth will increase considerably. Being one of the major import and export hubs in Oman, handling almost 70 percent of the Sultane’s imports and 40 percent of export. This has made Sohar port a melting point for international businesses that are now eyeing to set up their companies here. And the Sultanate is trying to leverage this interest by providing ample opportunities to such businesses at Sohar so that it can be further developed into a powerhouse of economic development in Oman.
Expansion plans are underway at Sohar Port
The Oman government has been investing heavily in Sohar port to make it a logistics hub, and by far their plans have yielded positive results. In alignment with their Vision 2040, there are several developmental plans being implemented at the port so that it can become a global giant in the logistics sector. The Sohar port area is being developed by constructing megaprojects, inviting foreign investment, and creating a conducive business environment so that foreign companies are pulled towards investing here. In addition to that, warehouses, offices, terminals, factories, etc are being constructed so that the mega-development plan can be realized.
The Sohar port, which is spread across 21 million square meters, is being expanded to accommodate new developmental plans. For the ease of doing business and so that companies can support each other, clusters are being created where companies dealing with similar kinds of businesses will be placed together. And infrastructure supporting the needs of those industries will be developed around them so that it can become a self-sufficient cluster and operate with full capacity. Several industries like steel, construction, food expert and import, plastic, etc are being invited for investment.
The projects that are currently being constructed include storage warehouse spaces, solar power grid manufacturing, truck rest area, quartz manufacturing plants, low-carbon ferrochrome manufacturing unit, etc. To smoothen the shipment process, businesses operating in the Freezone get the benefit of The Public Authority for Special Economic Zones and Free Zones, established to make a customs clearance, permissions, etc streamlined. This ensures that shipments are quick and hassle-free.
Advance digital infrastructure
Any development requires digital transformation and Sohar Port development has wholeheartedly adopted this philosophy. In the last few years, the Sohar Port has invested heavily in developing the digital infrastructure here. Platforms like Sohar Navigate allow companies to keep pace with the changing global technological demands and offer value addition to marine companies. Investors, supplies, and other service providers can make orders, submit requests, procure permits, and register themselves online through the online platforms created by the authorities. This has enhanced and improved the overall processing time for companies. This digitization proved especially beneficial during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Sohar’s contribution to Oman’s economy
The idea behind developing a port as a logistic hub is to support the local economy and make it more vibrant. And Sohar port has been able to do it quite successfully. It has been able to provide as many as 24000 direct or indirect jobs to the local workforce. It has singlehandedly contributed around 2.4 percent to the growth of GDP and is currently valued at around in millions.
Sohar Port and Freezone have established itself as a business powerhouse that has the capability to transform the national economy all by itself. The kind of plans the government has been implementing at Sohar is sure to make one of the biggest contributors to the logistics sector in the region, as well as globally. Such large-scale development has also created a lot of employment and has given local companies a chance to expand and flourish in this business-friendly environment. With more and more foreign investors showing interest in Sohar, it is only going to become bigger and bigger from now on.