Sohar Port signs land pact to construct 12 grain storage silos

Business Sunday 15/April/2018 14:45 PM
By: Times News Service
Sohar Port signs land pact to construct 12 grain storage silos

Times News Service
Muscat: Highlighting the growing emphasis on national food security, Sohar Port and Freezone has signed an agreement with Sohar Flour Mills (SFM) for the lease of a 10-hectare plot within the port area for the construction and management of 12 grain storage silos, each boasting a storage capacity of 13,000 tonnes.
Under the terms of the agreement, SFM will also oversee the construction and development of a new agro bulk terminal and deep water berth, which will be dedicated to handling the rapidly growing volumes of agro commodities moving through Sohar Port.
The sub-usufruct agreement (SUA) was signed on April 11 (Wednesday) at a ceremony held at Sohar Port and Freezone offices. Signing the agreement on behalf of Sohar Port was CEO Mark Geilenkirchen and Deputy CEO Jamal Aziz, while SFM was represented by Khamis Abdullah Al Farsi, the Chairman of the Board, and Director Ali Habaj.
“Enhancing the nation’s food security has been a matter of great focus for the government in recent years. Aligning with Oman’s National Food Security Strategy, we moved to set up a dedicated ‘Food Cluster’ within the port and freezone, which essentially forms the basis for an entire up-stream and down-stream food production, packaging and distribution eco-system,” said Geilenkirchen, highlighting the growing role played by the food sector at Sohar Port and Freezone.
“The construction of these large capacity grain silos certainly highlights the rapid growth and development of the food and agriculture sector in Sohar, and aligns with the country’s continued economic diversification efforts,” he added.
Established in 1977, SFM is a partnership between Atyab Investments, wholly-owned by Oman Flour Mills (OFM), and Essa Al Ghurair Investments based in the UAE. The company has already invested in a state-of-the-art OMR15 million flour mill located at the port, which is expected to become operational by the third quarter of 2018.
In its first phase, the facility will have a wheat milling capacity of 550 metric tonnes per day, with a potential to expand to 2,000 metric tonnes per day in later phases. The mill will also be capable of producing all types of speciality flours to cater to the different regions of Oman, as well as to develop exports to the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) and other international markets.
“In order to support our operations, as well as those of the Sohar food cluster as a whole, we will soon be constructing Oman’s first agro bulk terminal at the port, which will be complemented by the new grain silo complex,” said Al Farsi.
“The terminal will be dedicated to the import and export of agricultural bulk – wheat, rice, barley, and other grains, and will be able to load and unload grain at a rate of 600 tonnes an hour. Regulated by the Public Authority for Stores and Food Reserve, the new grain silo complex will be located next to the flour mill and will include 12 silos, each with a capacity of 13,000 tonnes,” he added.
With a dedicated agro bulk terminal and the adjoining agro cluster, the Sohar Port food cluster is a first-of-its-kind cluster dedicated to the food and agro sector in the region. The aim of the cluster is to promote the entire value chain of food processing and logistics support within the expanding multibillion-dollar regional food industry. In addition to the new flour mill and grain silo complex, the Sohar food cluster will also house a sugar refinery, with added-value food production, packaging and distribution facilities planned to follow.
“Keeping in line with the Sohar Port motto ‘It all starts here’, we are charting our own course to develop and grow Sohar Port and Freezone. Our continued growth within the food and agro sector underlines the fact that Sohar Port is emerging as one of the central hubs in the region for industry and logistics,” Geilenkirchen concluded.