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SOHAR chief underlines importance of freight terminal, shares global insights at national rail summit
Executive Commercial Manager Edwin Lammers has said that the development of a freight rail terminal at SOHAR will be vital in accelerating national growth and ensuring that Oman remains competitive in global markets. His remarks came in an engaging speech delivered at the Rail Projects GCC Exhibition & Summit 2014, in which he said ongoing expansion and growth make SOHAR an obvious choice for a new terminal.
“This is an exciting time for the Middle East rail industry, and even more so here in Oman. Around US$250 billion has been committed to building a 67,000 kilometre network in the Gulf, and work has also begun on the first phase of Oman’s 2,244 kilometre freight and passenger infrastructure,” Mr. Lammers remarked."
“As one of the world’s largest port development sites and the cornerstone of Oman’s global trade ambitions, we have seen steady growth in the demand for distribution and freight services. Connecting SOHAR to rail networks therefore becomes an obvious choice from a customer service perspective, and will allow us to capitalise on rising trade volumes and drive down the cost of doing business in Oman,” he said.
Having sustained double-digit growth for more than a decade following the establishment of a joint venture with world top 10 port – Port of Rotterdam 2002, Mr. Lammers spoke of the need for efficient rail services and highlighted the unique potential to harness global expertise on offer at Europe’s leading logistics hub.
“SOHAR has grown at a tremendous rate, and we owe much of that success to the vision of the government in Oman. We have also benefitted from access to global best practices in Rotterdam, which have guided our progress. I am confident that this relationship will prove valuable once more, as Oman seeks to tap into a global rail freight industry that was valued at around US$210 billion only last year,” Mr. Lammers said.
“More than 250 freight trains start and finish in Rotterdam every week and are expanding the port’s reach, creating new cargo flows and revenue streams. But a modern rail network takes more than the physical infrastructure and must be accompanied by customer-focused and efficient rail services and well thought out coordination planning. This is where experience will be most important in the Gulf,” he concluded.
SOHAR’s presence at the Summit comes as it applies the finishing touches to the relocation of commercial traffic from Muscat – which will see the number of containers passing through the port more than double. Two-hundred thousand tonnes of freight cargo and 70,000 cars will also make the move from the capital, and Mr. Lammers discussed the wider benefits of rail transport for local roads and the environment.
“Beyond the economic value of being able to transport great volumes at quicker and more reliable speeds, rail transportation has the additional benefit of reducing road traffic and pressure on the environment.”