Oman’s Sohar Port and Freezone saw a 53% rise in container volumes handled in the third quarter of 2015, driven mostly by the relocation of all commercial traffic from Port Sultan Qaboos in Muscat to Sohar Port in September 2014.
The port’s container volumes grew from 93,000 TEUs recorded in Q3 of 2014, to over 142,000 TEUs for the quarter ended September 30, 2015.
The combined figures of Sohar and Port Sultan Qaboos show an organic growth rate of 5% over the first three quarters of 2015 compared to this time last year, the operator says. For the period from January to September 2015, container volume in Sohar reached over 407,000 TEUs.
Bulk cargo volumes grew by 9% year-on-year, increasing from 10.4 million tons in Q3 of 2014, to 11.3 million tons in Q3 of 2015. Over the first three quarters combined, bulk at Sohar is up by 22%, reaching over 34 million tons for the period from January to September 2015.
The general cargo terminal at Sohar increased its throughput by 60% over the first three quarters of 2015, reaching a combined volume of 2.3 million tons. Much of this growth has been captured from other regional ports, the company says.
Dry and break-bulk was up from 1.3 million tons in the first three quarters of 2014, to over 1.9 million tons for the first three quarters this year, an increase of 48%. RoRo volumes at the terminal saw an increase of 181% over the first three quarters of 2015 – with Sohar now handling over 200,000 vehicles annually.
With Oman’s Vision 2020 program in place, the Sultanate continues to invest in diversifying the economy beyond its traditional petrochemical base, as it moves forward with its plan to transform itself into a major regional industrial and logistics center.
“A 53% year-on-year increase in container throughput in Q3 is testament to the success of our operations here at Sohar. Our rapid growth has positioned Sohar as a significant regional hub, and we are fully committed to building a sustainable logistics infrastructure that will support Oman in achieving our Vision 2020 objectives,” Andre Toet, CEO of SOHAR Port, said.
Over the past few months, Sohar has continued to add new direct shipping lines to its roster, announcing the addition of global lines Hanjin and Evergreen, directly linking the port to the Far East.
Jamal Aziz, CEO of SOHAR Freezone, said: “We are continuing our unrelenting efforts to increase the size of investments in our Freezone. It is one of our main objectives to play an important role in the diversification process of Oman’s economy and take full advantage of Sohar’s strategic location in the region which is considered very crucial for our growth.”