October 31 - SOHAR executive commercial manager Edwin Lammers has emphasised the importance of pressing forward with national infrastructure projects that will allow the port to offer better connectivity across the GCC region.

Lammers said that SOHAR is expanding its presence in Europe and Asia, together with the Port of Rotterdam. "Latin America also looms large on the horizon after Port of Rotterdam acquired a majority stake in a new greenfield project called Porto Central," he added.

"While primarily a venture between Port of Rotterdam and Brazilian firm TPK Logistica SA, the similarities between SOHAR and the Latin American port are striking," Lammers went on.

"Like SOHAR, Porto Central is designed to serve oil and gas, mining, and agricultural industries. It will also double up as an offshore supply base with state-of-the-art container and general cargo terminals charged with handling cars, steel, and ornamental rocks."

At the Oman Projects Forum 2014 Lammers told delegates that over 2,000 ships will call at SOHAR next year. Alongside its container terminal, Lammers said that the port and freezone was also planning for growth across all other cargo types, alongside some "very exciting developments in road, rail and air transport sectors".

"Transport links are the lifeblood of any port and freezone development strategy, and will pave the way for exponential growth and propel Oman's economy to new heights. They will also ensure the nation's logistics sector can sustain our plans for increasing scale and cutting the cost of transporting goods through Oman," said Lammers.

In addition to growing cargo volumes, the SOHAR executive commercial manager emphasised his personal desire to see SOHAR achieve its full potential and progress from its current state as a feeder port into a hub for ships plying global trade routes.

"The Middle East continues to present tremendous opportunities for foreign investment and our aim is to harness the strategic location of SOHAR; its competitive energy rates and skilled workforce, and ensure opportunities come directly to Oman," concluded Lammers.