December 30, 2014: Sohar Port and Freezone is today celebrating the arrival of the record-breaking 2000th vessel to call at the Batinah port in 2014, according to Executive Commercial Manager Edwin Lammers. It is the first time that the landmark figured has officially been reached in a year, and comes ahead of the start of the New Year.
Mr. Lammers said: "We have just this morning received word that the 2000th vessel call has arrived and is docked and awaiting to be unloaded. This is a fantastic achievement in a year full of new records and, while we have also been faced with challenges, it is a clear indication of the direction that we are headed in."
"Our success in growing the number of vessel calls so quickly and in such a short space of time since start-up would not have been possible without the dedication of the 9,000 people that make Sohar tick, as well as the businesses and partnerships we have welcomed over the years. It is a pleasure to see that everyone is pulling in the same direction and I extend thanks to all those associated with Sohar," said Mr. Lammers.
Officials at the port welcomed the vessel, a 200 metre Glovis Superior vehicle carrier, at the multipurpose cargo terminal operated by C. Steinweg Oman. Once unloaded, the vessel which departed from Sharjah in UAE is destined to make the journey cross the Arabian Sea on its way to Magampura Mahinda Rajapaksa Port in Hambantota, Sri Lanka. The ship is sailing under the flag of the Republic of the Marshal Islands.
More than 200,000 cars are imported annually through Sohar, following a deal signed at the start of the year with Saud Bahwan. As a representative of brands that include Toyota, Lexus, Ford, Daihatsu, and Kia, the company leased a 400,000 square metre plot at Sohar Freezone for a vehicle storage and distribution centre for Toyota and Lexus. Similar deals are already in place with Suhail Bahwan and OTE at Sohar.
However, while the 2000th vessel brought vehicles, Mr. Lammers said the wider implications for economic growth and diversification are far greater than an individual ship: "Sohar has done well to build volumes across all cargo types and the diversity in our portfolio has been one of our key assets. As more ships come, cargo fees will drop and we will see Sohar transform from its role as a feeder port to a regional hub."
Sohar Port and Freezone is a deep sea port and free zone in the Middle East, situated in the Sultanate of Oman around 200 kilometres northwest of its capital Muscat.