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Pact signed to develop dry-port in Khazaen

Wednesday, 25 July 2018 | 20:00

Asyad Group subsidiary Marafi has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to work together with Khazaen Economic City (KEC) to develop and operate dry-port facilities in Khazaen.

KEC, envisioned as an international logistics hub, is spread over a total area of 51 million sq.m. in South Al Batinah Governorate and will have a dry-port along with logistics, industrial, commercial, and residential zones.

The proposed city will be developed in several phases to eventually become an integrated city. Marafi is a member of the Asyad group of companies, which was established to manage and operate maritime services and the handling of vessels at ports and terminals in Oman and abroad.

Under the MoU, both parties agree to use their best efforts to obtain the necessary approvals and permits and to complete the due diligence required to sign the definitive agreement/s before the end of 2018.

Marafi will set up a special purpose vehicle (SPV) with key local logistics partners from the private sector to develop and operate Oman’s first dry-port, in line with the MoU’s objectives. The dry-port facilities will be a key demand driver and enabler for Khazaen’s development.

The fully-integrated Khazaen Economic City will be the first of its kind to be set up near Muscat. The KEC will be at the forefront of the Sultanate’s plans to evolve into a logistics-centric economy through the creation of a city thoroughly designed with world class infrastructure that kindles investment indirectly and caters to the development of logistics-linked activities.

Served by major transportation infrastructure such as the Batinah Expressway, Oman Rail, and the Muscat International Airport, Khazaen is the ideal logistics, warehousing, light industrial, and commercial hub linking the main modes of transportation in and out of Oman.

The Khazaen dry-port is central to the north Omani coast, the most densely populated part of Oman, and has the best road connectivity to Sohar port, airports, and logistics providers. Collaboration with Suwaiq port is also expected as it gradually develops in the future.

“The signing of this MoU is extremely significant,” said Asyad Group Chief Executive Officer Abdulrahman Salim Al Hatmi. “Dry-ports efficiently promote economic and social development in the surrounding areas by generating employment and income. Khazaen will provide support for the significant potential of Oman’s logistics sector.”

“The dry-port at Khazaen will speed up the flow of cargo between ships and major land transportation networks and improve the movement of imports and exports by moving the time-consuming sorting and processing of containers away from congested seaports,” he added. “It comes in line with the Sultanate of Oman Logistics Strategy or SOLS 2040.”

KEC officials echoed Al Hatmi’s statement.

“The signing of this MoU will help Oman in branding itself as a logistics hub in the near future,” said Tareq Al Mugheiry, Board Member of KEC. “The dry-port will position Khazaen Economic City as a central hub for logistics to provide integrated services related to the supply chain.”

“The dry-port will enable Khazaen to provide urban freight consolidation from a central distribution point to service the city of Muscat, with easy connectivity to Muscat Airport and Sohar Port via the Muscat and Al Batinah Expressway,” said Faisal Al Balushi, GM for Commercial and Business Development at KEC.

“This is an exciting time to be part of the realisation of such a significant project in Oman’s economic growth,” said the CEO of Marafi, Dr Ahmed Al Abri. “We are looking forward to bringing our expertise to this development.”

“This involvement of private sector partners will strengthen the port’s capabilities, outreach, services and scope of supply,” added Al Abri. “The dry-port is essential for Khazaen’s development and growth. Its activities are key to driving businesses to settle and grow within the economic area.”

Fortified with customs-bonded services, ample capacity, and connectivity with the Muscat-Batinah Expressway and eventually the GCC rail, the dry-port will be ideally positioned to serve the needs of shippers and logistics service providers.
Source: Times of Oman

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