Muscat: Freezone Sohar will finalise its master plan to develop a huge area of 4,500 hectares of land by the middle of this year, said a top-level official of Freezone Sohar.
“We will be finishing the master plan for 2040 for our area by the middle of this year, which will show what type of industries and what sort of growth we expect to see in the years to come,” said Eng. Jamal T. Aziz, chief executive officer of Freezone Sohar, while addressing the annual gathering of Sohar port and free zone here on Tuesday.
Freezone Sohar is preparing the major plan to take advantage of the port’s planned railway and air connectivity to the rest of the region to become a major logistics hub for the region. Eng. Aziz said the free zone has attracted OMR300 million worth investments so far in various sectors, which include logistics.
In the last four months, the free zone has signed agreements with four new tenants, which include a Chinese firm that plans to set up a manufacturing facility for products used in oil and gas industry. “We have started to focus more on logistics, because we are well connected. The road to connect Saudi Arabia will be ready this year. The first segment of the national railway will connect Sohar with other GCC states,” elaborated the chief of FreezoneSohar. The logistics firms coming up with in the free zone include those supporting oil and gas and automobile sectors.
The strategic location, energy availability and a deep-water port make it a major attraction for investors to set up their base in Sohar. Several investments in Sohar free zone are from India, either as 100 per cent investment or as joint venture partners.
Freezone Sohar has completed the first phase development, which has around 500 hectares of land. The first phase of the freezone is more or less full and the authorities are embarking on expansion of the second phase.
Eng. Aziz also noted that two ferrochrome projects – Al TammanIndsil Ferrochrome and Gulf Mining Materials - have commenced operations at the free zone and are exporting finished products to several countries, which include China.
He also noted that the recent slump in commodity prices may not have an impact on these firms, since they can control their production to suit the market demand. Eng. Aziz also said that there is an ample potential for downstream plastic industries with the newly announced Liwa Plastics Industries project.