Phase-2 of Sohar Port and Freezone to begin later this year

railway dstanley flickrSohar Freezone, the deep-sea port and free zone in Sohar, will begin planning its second phase later this year, with emphasis on rail infrastructure

Sohar Port and Freezone is a business location, located 220km from Muscat. Nearly 80 per cent of space in the first phase has already been occupied for business activities.

Jamal Aziz, CEO of Freezone, said, "We are already into planning phase two, which will be based on certain essential factors like new rail infrastructure. It is important to plan the second phase of the freezone, and optimise opportunities that rail infrastructure will bring for both the industry and business units."

International players at the port, including Hutchison from Hong Kong, Vale from Brazil, Jindal from India, Steinweg from Holland, Oiltanking/Odfjell from Germany/Norway are already doing brisk business.

The Sohar Freezone has marketing offices in the UAE and China, and will open a branch in India very soon. The company's collaboration with the Port of Rotterdam, has strengthened its global reach.

Aziz stated that FDI has been flowing into Sohar from 2002. Owing to its location, the city is well connected to the rest of GCC and this has helped attract foreign investors.

In addition, investors are reportedly looking at available energy resources to set up manufacturing or processing units. Feedstock also happens to be crucial and this has had a knock-on effect for further manufacturing activity. "There is huge potential for investment in steel and we already have a strong base upstream for iron industries," added Aziz.

Other industries like plastics, logistics, oil and gas are likely to benefit from the development of the second phase of the freezone.

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