Hutchinson Ports breaks ground on new $30m solar-powered integrated inspection facility in Sohar, Oman

Hutchinson Ports, the global port developer, has announced that it has broken ground on a new solar-powered integrated inspection facility in Oman, which is being developed at a total investment of $30 million.

In a statement, the developer said that the project, which will come up on a 37,000sqm area within Terminal C premises of the Omani port of Sohar. It is part of the terminal’s development plans to enhance the inspection services for inbound and outbound containers.

The integrated inspection facility will further support Oman Customs and other related authorities to seamlessly turnover the inspection with enhanced security measures under the Sultanate of Oman’s Logistics Strategy (SOLS) 2040, it stated.

Set for completion in mid-2023, it will be the largest and first integrated one-stop shop for all the relevant government authorities to handle the clearance in the sultanate.

The ground-breaking ceremony was attended by Engineer Khamis Al Shamakhi, Undersecretary of Ministry of Transport, Muhna Al Lawatia, General Manager of Ports at Ministry of Transport, Abdullah Al Hadabi, General Manager at Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Water Resources (MoAFWR) and delegates from Customs, Mark Geilenkirchen, CEO of Sohar Port and the management team of Hutchison Ports Sohar.

Al Shamakhi said such an initiative by Hutchison Ports illustrates a true partnership by the company with the government to facilitate smoother and timely handling and clearance of goods, additionally, adopting new simplified processes and standards will improve and facilitate world-class operations of the port.

“We are looking forward to seeing its impact and that such project is implemented in other ports. It will also result in improvements to our domestic and global logistics performance as per the Logistics Performance Index and its key dimensions,” he added.

On the new project, Geilenkirchen said: “Hutchison Ports Sohar is one of Sohar’s biggest success stories and we are delighted with the progress the company has made. The new facility in the terminal will be vital in attracting world-class tenants to the complex and improving customer experience and satisfaction. This will continue to create an environment where business can thrive and contribute to the ongoing development of the national economy.”

Hutchison Ports Sohar CEO Anacin Kum said this integrated inspection facility project will be transformative for the clearance process but more importantly, it will significantly expand terminal’s ability to serve the growing community needs through a superior one-stop-shop service station.

“The facility will be temperature-controlled and outfitted with cargo scanners at the inspection platforms. Out of the 66 container inspection bays, a dedicated section of about 1/3 of the total inspection facility will be reserved for refrigerated and foodstuff inspection,” stated Kum.

“The three X-ray container scanner portal units and Container Radiation Monitor System will be integrated with the security control system for scanning containers. The project also has a reserved area for a safe and clean laboratory testing process to ensure food safety control on the growing imports and exports in the country,” he noted.

In order to achieve the sultanate’s sustainability goals, a solar energy system will be installed on the new infrastructure, existing buildings and car parking areas which will result in a reduction of approximately 5,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions per year, he added.

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