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Marafi, Khazaen Economic City to develop Oman's first dry port

Oman's first dry port will be developed as part of the multi-phase Khazaen Economic City megaproject

Khazaen Economic City will be home to Oman's first dry port.
Khazaen Economic City will be home to Oman's first dry port.

Asyad Group subsidiary Marafi and Khazaen Economic City have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to build and operate the first dry port in Oman.

The dry port will be located in Khazaen Economic City, a yet-to-be-built 51km2 smart metropolis in the northern part of the sultanate set to transform Oman into a regional logistics powerhouse.

Marafi and Khazaen Economic City will work together on the inland port and hope to have completed all due diligence required to sign definitive agreements before the end of the year.

READ: Four in race to win contract for Oman's new city

A special purpose vehicle (SPV) will be created by Marafi and private sector logistics firms to develop and operate the sultanate's first dry port. 

Asyad Group's chief executive officer, Abdulrahman bin Salim al-Hatmi, said the MoU was "extremely significant" because it will create jobs and stimulate the local economy by accelerating trade.

"Khazaen will support the significant potential for Oman's logistics sector," he said. "The dry port at Khazaen will speed up the flow of cargo between ships and major land transportation networks, improving the movement of imports and exports by moving the time-consuming sorting and processing of containers away from congested seaports."

 Khazaen Economic City is a multi-phase megaproject that will boast logistics, industrial, commercial and residential zones. It will be built around an integrated logistics network linking sea ports with airports, such as the new Muscat International Airport, roads, and a planned rail network. Oman hopes that building this integrated logistics city will encourage the flow of traded goods and services in and out of the sultanate.

The dry port will be located centrally to the northern Omani coast, providing road connections to Sohar Port, with A'Suwaiq Port also expected to benefit from the project.

Chief executive officer of Marafi, Dr Ahmed Al-Abri, said it was an  "exciting time" to be part of  "such a significant project" set to spur Oman's economic growth.

"We are looking forward to bringing our expertise to this development," Al-Abri added. "This involvement of private sector partners will strengthen the port’s capabilities, outreach, services, and scope of supply. The dry-port is essential for Khazaen's development and growth."

One of the board member at Khazaen Economic City, Tareq al-Mugheiri, said: "The signing of this MoU will help Oman in branding itself as a logistics hub in the near future. The dry port will position Khazaen Economic City as a central hub for logistics to provide integrated services related to the supply chain."

Atkins is the lead consultant for the master-planned Khazaen Economic City KEC megaproject. Its $6.8m (OMR2.6m) contract covers master planning, design, and supervision. 

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Construction Week - Issue 749
Sep 15, 2019