The implementation of its business continuity plan has seen SOHAR Port and Freezone maintain its operations and deliver high-quality services to its tenants and vessels that travel via its complex, despite the impact that the COVID-19 pandemic has had on global markets. Q2 saw an increase of 112% in STS throughput, compared to the values of Q2 in 2019. This has resulted in a growth of STS operations by 16% and anchorage calls by 4%, a rise that is the result of SOHAR’s strategic location as gateway between the East and West and a myriad of direct connections to ports around the world.
Abdulrahman bin Salim Al Hatmi, Group Chief Executive of ASYAD, stated “We continue to place a huge importance on maintaining an uninterrupted flow of goods and commodities into the local market, via all the ports in the Sultanate, which is further complemented by the provision of high-level marine services to shipping agents, and export and import companies. Keeping in mind the current situation, we ensure only the highest levels of safety at all our facilities, in line with the directives of the relevant Supreme Committee, to safeguard the health and well-being of all our employees, customers and the community at large.”
“All the Omani ports have proven their effectiveness in meeting the demands of the local market via direct imports through their facilities. Due to the unified efforts of ASYAD’s Commercial Team and relevant entities in the sector, we have successfully been able to maintain business continuity in every aspect of our operations. We encourage import-based companies to take advantage of the unrivalled connectivity offered by the Omani port network, which will provide them with increased outreach to markets across the globe and enable them to streamline their operations” Al Hatmi added.
Commenting on the Q2 statistics, Mark Geilenkirchen, CEO of SOHAR Port, said, “Although we are all facing the uncertainty of the current situation, the team at SOHAR continues to carry out operations in the best possible way, without compromising on the high standards in place. Our top priority is to carry on contributing towards a seamless flow of goods into the local market, while ensuring the best marine services. This goes hand-in-hand with implementing the directives of the Supreme Committee, which sees us maintain the highest levels of safety at both the Port and the Freezone to safeguard the health and well-being of our staff, tenants and the community at large.”
“The quarter saw several key highlights, including the introduction of two new services that facilitate ease of setting up business at the Port or Freezone and attractive land lease opportunities at SOHAR Port South and Terminal 2D. The General Trade License (GTL) extends several discounts to established and potential investors. A second license, Tasheel, is available for our customers to allow them to meet all documentation requirements conveniently. Derived from the Arabic word for ‘Simplified’, this easy-to-use online Permit Management System is one of our many digitised services and we have several additions to Tasheel planned for the future. All these developments and innovations are aimed at offering more features and options to both existing as well as new businesses, to further reinforce our position as a key logistics hub in the region,” Mark added.
Commenting on the growth of the Freezone, Omar Mahmood Al Mahrizi, DCEO of SOHAR Port – CEO of SOHAR Freezone said, “The success of the Freezone coincides with that of the Port, with the construction of several new projects going ahead as scheduled. A majority of these developments will be operational by the end of 2020, contributing additional revenue to the national economy as well as enhancing the number of downstream opportunities we can offer to our tenants. Q2 has seen our land occupancy rate reach 62%, with our warehousing and office occupancy rates reaching 71% and 18% respectively. Additionally, the Secured Bonded Corridors initiative, launched by the Directorate General of Customs, aims to facilitate trade and ease of doing business. This, in turn, will enhance the attractiveness of the Freezone and bring further investments.”
“On behalf of the SOHAR management, we would like to thank everyone that has been instrumental to our success, including the efforts of government entities such as ROP-Customs, all our customers and tenants. We are also extremely grateful for the hard work and tireless dedication of all healthcare professionals, as well as our staff members working on the front line to keep us safe every day. We believe that, together, we will be able to overcome the present challenges and journey towards a better and brighter future for the Sultanate and all its people.” Omar added.