Muscat: Sohar Freezone has been selected as winner of the New Investments Award in the 2016 fDi Magazine Free Zones of The Year Awards, in its annual search for the best free zones. fDi magazine is a part of the UK’s ‘Financial Times’ newspaper group.
Sohar is the only winner in this category in the Middle East region. Editor Courtney Fingar congratulated Sohar on this significant achievement as she presented the award to Sohar executive commercial manager Marc Evertse.
“Despite the currently low oil prices and all the global economic volatility, interest in Sohar Freezone has not declined and we have seen some significant new investments signed over the past year. For example, Chinese investors from the Jiangsu Changbao Steel Tube Company are building a greenfield steel mill to produce seamless steel pipes for a broad range of industries, including oil and gas extraction, chemicals, automobiles and machinery manufacturing,” said Jamal T. Aziz, chief executive officer of Freezone, commenting on the New Investments Award.
The prospects for continued strong growth at Sohar Freezone look positive, with its prime location next door to one of the world’s fastest growing ports, handling over 2,500 ships a year and an abundant supply of feedstock.
Combined with excellent landside connectivity, boasting new and uncongested highways to the UAE, Saudi Arabia and the other Gulf states, reasonable energy rates and a supportive legal and regulatory framework, Sohar Freezone is well on track for more success in the years ahead as planning commences to develop phase two.
Mark Geilenkirchen, chief executive officer of SOHAR, said he was delighted about the decision from fDi Magazine. “Oman is concentrating on the logistics and transportation sector through a consolidated and long-term logistics strategy. The plan is to improve soft infrastructure, support mechanisms and national institutions, to catapult the Sultanate into the top ten of the world’s most logistics-friendly economies by 2040. As one of the region’s prime logistical hubs, SOHAR will play a critical role in these plans. We envisage developing the Freezone as a hub for innovation, especially in the logistics sector,” he added.
The fDi New Investments Award was a timely reminder that setting up a Freezone business in the Middle East was never more straightforward thanks to the one-stop-shop system that Sohar has developed over the past few years. The system gives overseas and Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) investors a single point of contact to handle all the permits that need to be granted. Once a company is established, Sohar Freezone allows 100 per cent foreign ownership and free repatriation of capital and profits; corporate tax holidays of up to 25 years; and no personal income tax, currency restrictions or duty on imports and exports.