• June 10, 2014

SOHAR Flexes its Automotive Muscles at Automechanika Dubai

SOHAR Port and Freezone made a spectacular debut at Automechanika Dubai alongside a car dubbed by BBC Top Gear presenter Jeremy Clarkson as “one of the world’s best”. Representatives from the Oman-based industrial hub lined up alongside the Ferrari 458 as part of a major drive to showcase the growing number of automotive companies utilising their high quality infrastructure and services as an accessible and convenient portal for both global and regional business.


SOHAR’s presence at the fair comes just months after a deal was announced that will see one of Oman’s largest business houses, Saud Bahwan, lease part of the Freezone for use as a pre-delivery inspection and service centre – for Toyota, Daihatsu, Lexus, Kia and Ford. The port is already home to businesses operating on behalf of Nissan, BMW, and Hyundai, and Freezone CEO Jamal Aziz was keen to draw comparisons between SOHAR’s streamlined dockside offering and the ‘perfect car’.

“When you buy a Ferrari you know exactly what you are getting – speed, precision, and world-beating quality. This is what we aspire to at SOHAR, and the fact we handle 200,000 vehicles a year and support global spare parts distribution tells me we must be getting something right,” said Mr. Aziz. “That something is our charge to reduce bumps in the road ahead for businesses,” he added.

The construction of new road, rail, and air infrastructures that will connect the Freezone with Saudi Arabia and UAE, mean SOHAR is well placed to take advantage of high growth in vehicle sales across the GCC region. According to analysts Frost & Sullivan the sale of cars is expected to record a CAGR of 6.0% for the period 2012-2017, with Saudi Arabia and the UAE offering the largest markets. Spare parts markets are expected to double by 2017, to US$13.46 billion.

With 24,000 trade visitors and buyers at last year’s event, it is hoped Automechanika Dubai 2014 will attract further investment into the Port and Freezone. So far, more than $21 billion has been pumped into creating a world-class facility, with SOHAR’s growing popularity contributing to lease agreements being signed for the first phase of the Freezone almost three years ahead of schedule.

In addition to its prime location and connectivity, access to abundant low-cost energy and utilities and the feeder network through the Port, have put SOHAR in the global spotlight. Automechanika Dubai has also developed a reputation as an unrivalled trade and networking event in the GCC region, and SOHAR Port CEO Andre Toet recognised its role in forging long-term partnerships.

“As a facilitator of trade and investment in the automotive industry, it doesn’t get much better than Automechanika,” he remarked. “We hope today’s event will act as a springboard and help us continue building strong partnerships that will better serve Oman’s economy and its people”.