• January 20, 2015

SOHAR eyes expanding role in packaging industries

  • Synergies between agricultural terminal and petrochemicals highlighted at Dubai shows

  • SOHAR participates at arabplast 2015 and PlastiCon 2015 trades shows with key tenants

  • Food processing and packaging industries high on agenda, but not only investor option


SOHAR Port and Freezone plans to take full advantage of the expansion of its petrochemicals industries in order to attract downstream plastics manufacturers to the logistics hub ahead of the construction of Oman’s first dedicated agricultural terminal. This was the message delivered by SOHAR officials to industry leaders and experts at arabplast 2015 and GPCA PlastiCon 2015 trade shows, both held in Dubai this week.

“With the planned construction of an agricultural terminal and anticipated influx of grain products that will accompany its completion, our aim is to attract new investment in food and food processing industries and create a cluster than can feed the region. Grain silos and a sugar refinery are already in the pipeline, and as this sector grows, the opportunities for packaging companies to serve multinational businesses will grow.”

“We are pleased to see the response that we have had to the news that more than 1.5 million tonnes of environmentally-friendly packaging materials will soon be produced at SOHAR, led by Oman International Petrochemical Industry Company. This will centre on production of PET typically used in the manufacturing of single-serve beverage and soft drink bottles,” said Executive Commercial Manager, Edwin Lammers.

In addition, the Liwa Plastics Project will provide polyethylene and polypropylene to packaging companies interested in setting up operations at SOHAR. This US$3.6 billion steam cracker project is being developed at SOHAR by Oman Oil Refineries & Petroleum Industries and will be integrated with the existing refinery, aromatics plant, and polypropylene plant. But packaging is not the only option, according to Mr. Lammers.

“The link between food and plastics is clear. The global packaging industry will generate US$975 billion in sales by 2018, and 60 percent of that will be created in the food industry. Thirty percent of packaging is made from plastics, and 90 percent of the region’s foodstuffs are imported. Much of this is pre-packaged elsewhere at a higher cost and our aim is to leverage our low-cost energy resources to reduce that cost.”

“However, packaging is not the only option available to potential investors. High density polyethylene and PET can be extruded for use in large-scale water and other types of piping, for example. This bodes well for the region’s construction industry, though we do not envision SOHAR being able to supply this industry just yet. Nevertheless, all of the plastics that will be produced at the port remain extremely versatile,” he said.

On show at Dubai World Trade Centre from 10-13 January 2015, the SOHAR stand at arabplast 2015 was a joint construction undertaken with Oman Oil Refineries & Petroleum Industries. More than 25,000 visitors from over 100 countries attended the event, with hundreds enquiring about the investment opportunities on offer. A similarly positive response was received at PlastiCon 2015, held between 11-12 January 2015.