• April 01, 2016

World’s number two shipping line joins growing SOHAR roster

• MSC joins other major lines to add SOHAR as regular call
• SOHAR Port now handles one million tons of cargo every week
• MSC has 480 offices in 150 countries and employs 25,000 staff

SOHAR is celebrating again this week as MSC (Mediterranean Shipping Services), since 2003 the world’s second largest container shipper with over 2.7m TEU per year, adds the Omani Port and logistical hub as a regular call. Founded in 1970 in Geneva, Switzerland, the carrier operates 200 direct and combined services weekly, calling at approximately 335 ports. Today MSC has 480 offices in 150 countries and employs more than 25,000 staff.

Officials from SOHAR Port and Freezone, as well as executives from Oman International Container Terminal (OICT), part of Hong Kong’s Hutchison Group, were on the quayside on Thursday to greet the MSC Lana. This latest addition highlights once again that SOHAR is establishing itself as the preferred Gateway to the Gulf for many major international operators. Thanks to its prime location outside the Strait of Hormuz and its excellent hinterland connections to Saudi Arabia and the UAE, as well as its proximity to Iran, SOHAR has become one of the world’s fastest growing Port and Freezone developments with investments today totaling US$ 25 billion.

The inaugural ceremony celebrated the continued and successful growth of the Port, where handling capacity at the state-of-the-art container terminal has doubled since 2014. With the relocation of all commercial traffic from Muscat to SOHAR, and the newly expanded Terminal C fully operational, the Port is now equipped to manage 1.5 million TEUs per year. OICT has recently added four new remote-controlled quay cranes, capable of handling 20,000 TEU vessels, as well as an automated truck appointment system, to reduce turnaround times at the terminal.

MSC is the latest major shipping line to join SOHAR over the past twelve months, with SOHAR welcoming the arrival of global lines Evergreen and Hanjin in 2015. SOHAR Chief Executive Andre Toet says: “The growth in both size and efficiency at our OICT operated container terminal has led to more new lines and many more connections. This continued growth at SOHAR helps us to increase efficiencies and sink costs, savings that can be passed on all the way through the supply chain.”

Chief Executive of OICT, Albert Pang, summed up: "It is with great pleasure that OICT welcomes MSC to our new facilities at SOHAR. This service is evidence of shipping lines` confidence in OICT`s growing prominence as Oman`s gateway for international trade. 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.”