The Port held a special ceremony to welcome the arrival of the container ship Hanjin Hamburg into the Port yesterday (Wednesday). The new 8,600 TEU service from Hanjin, one of the world’s top will directly link SOHAR to the Far East and is a significant addition in terms of direct connectivity for SOHAR.
His Excellency Dr Ahmed Mohammed Salem Al-Futaisi, the Sultanate’s Minister of Transport and Communications, representatives of Hanjin Shipping, as well as executives from Oman International Container Terminal (OICT) and SOHAR Port and Freezone, were on the quayside to welcome the arrival of the South Korean container vessel.
The inaugural ceremony celebrated the continued and successful growth of the Port, where handling capacity at the state-of-the-art container terminal, operated by OICT, has doubled over the past year. With the relocation of all commercial traffic from Muscat to SOHAR in 2014, and the newly expanded Terminal C now fully operational, SOHAR is now equipped to manage 1.5 million TEUs per year. Hanjin is the second major shipping line to join SOHAR in the last three months, with the Port welcoming the arrival of the EGL Messini from global line Evergreen, in May 2015.
The new Hanjin service will facilitate direct links to include South Korea, China, Malaysia, and Singapore. SOHAR Chief Executive Andre Toet said: “The past year has been of huge significance for SOHAR Port and specifically for our container business with OICT; the growth in both size and efficiency at OICT has led to more new lines and, most importantly, more direct connections. These direct calls help us to sink costs, savings that can be passed on all the way through the supply chain.”
SOHAR Freezone Jamal Aziz added: “Our goal is ultimately to secure that all imports and exports from and for Oman go through Omani ports, and adding this new direct service is another important step on that journey. SOHAR Port Authority is actively working together with OICT and our other terminals on strategies to achieve this.”
Chief Executive of OICT, Albert Pang, said: “It is with great pleasure that OICT welcomes the maiden call of the Hanjin Hamburg running on a new direct service connecting Sohar to the Far East. This service is evidence of shipping lines’ confidence in OICT’s growing prominence as Oman’s gateway for international trade in addition to its position as a hub for container carrier connections. A combination of the latest IT systems and technology, a highly-skilled workforce and continuous investments in facilities allow us to offer customers the highest standards of service and efficiency and we will continue to build for the future of trade in the region.”