Muscat: Oman government is working on a plan to build a large modern automated container terminal at Sohar Port, which will have a capacity to handle five million twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) per annum.
The government authorities are waiting for an internal approval, which will be in line with the commercial discussion with the port operator.
The basic infrastructure for the proposed terminal (terminal D) will be developed by the government, while the superstructure will be built by the container terminal operator – Oman International Container Terminal (OITC), Mahdi Al Lawatia, Southern Development Director of Sohar Port told ‘Times of Oman’ on the sidelines of ‘Port Development Middle East Conference’ here on Monday.
He further said that the current container handling capacity of Sohar is around 2 million TEUs and the port’s actual annual container handling is close to the capacity. The expansion will take the total container handling capacity to seven million TEUs per year, once it is ready.
Apart from organic growth, the relocation of all commercial traffic from Muscat a couple of years ago is a driver for recent peaks in cargo volumes, especially in containers.
Al Lawatia said that the construction of new terminal may take two-and-a-half years, after finalizing the plan and start work on the project. He also noted that the new terminal, which is coming up close to the logistics cluster, will use state-of-the-art technology in an attempt to make it a smart port.
Sohar Port has several advantages due to its strategic location and its access to thickly populated countries like India and Pakistan.
Sohar Port industrial area has attracted investment to the tune of $25 billion so far, he noted. The whole industrial area is divided into several clusters, including logistics, metal/mineral, petrochemical and utilities.
In fact, a new sugar refinery and a food grain handling facility (of Oman Flour Mills) will come up close to Terminal B or agro-bulk terminal and therefore, it will be exclusively used by these two units.