Muscat: Hutchison Ports Sohar held a groundbreaking ceremony, marking the start of construction on its new solar-powered integrated inspection facility project.
In attendance at the ceremony was Eng. Khamis Al Shamakhi, Undersecretary of Ministry of Transport, Muhna Al Lawatia, General Manager of Ports at Ministry of Transport, Abdullah Al Hadabi, General Manager at Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Water Resources (MoAFWR) and delegates from Customs, Mark Geilenkirchen, CEO of Sohar Port and the management team of Hutchison Ports Sohar.
The new $30 million project will be a part of the terminal development plans to enhance the inspection services for inbound and outbound containers. The integrated inspection facility will further support Oman Customs and other related authorities to seamlessly turnover the inspection with enhanced security measures under the Sultanate of Oman’s Logistics Strategy (SOLS) 2040.
Al Shamakhi said that such an initiative by the company illustrates a true partnership by the company with the government to facilitate smoother and timely handling and clearance of goods, additionally, adopting new simplified processes and standards will improve and facilitate world-class operations of the port. "We are looking forward to seeing its impact and that such project is implemented in other ports. It will also result in improvements to our domestic and global logistics performance as per the Logistics Performance Index and its key dimensions."
"This project is designed to accelerate the process of Customs inspection through high standard services, and it will ease the process of releasing the goods from the container terminal. In addition, by using the X-ray container scanners, the new project will help our inspectors to distinguish between those containers with high risk and low risk," Colonel Said Al Ghaithi, Director General of Customs, Royal Oman Police commented.
The project will be spread across a total area of 37,000 sqm within the Terminal C premises and is expected to complete by mid of 2023. Once ready, it is set to be the largest and first integrated one-stop-shop for all the relevant government authorities to handle the clearance in the Sultanate.
Geilenkirchen said, “Hutchison Ports Sohar is one of Sohar’s biggest success stories and we are delighted with the progress the company has made. The new facility in the terminal will be vital in attracting world-class tenants to the complex and improving customer experience and satisfaction. This will continue to create an environment where business can thrive and contribute to the ongoing development of the national economy.”
“This integrated inspection facility project will be transformative for the clearance process but more importantly, it will significantly expand terminal’s ability to serve the growing community needs through a superior one-stop-shop service station,” Anacin Kum, CEO of Hutchison Ports Sohar said.
The inspection facility will be temperature-controlled and outfitted with cargo scanners at the inspection platforms. Out of the 66 container inspection bays, a dedicated section of about 1/3 of the total inspection facility will be reserved for refrigerated and foodstuff inspection. The three X-ray container scanner portal units and Container Radiation Monitor System will be integrated with the security control system for scanning containers. The project also has a reserved area for a safe and clean laboratory testing process to ensure food safety control on the growing imports and exports in the country.
With the focus on Oman Vision 2040, we strive to continue contributing with our investments towards the growth of Oman’s logistics sector. In our conscious efforts to support the sustainability goals of the country, a solar energy system will be installed on the new infrastructure, existing buildings and car parking areas which will result in a reduction of approximately 5,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions per year.