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TIN news:         Port Services Corporation (PSC) , which operates and manages Muscat’s Port Sultan Qaboos, has joined forces with Salalah Port Services Company and two other strategic partners in mounting a bid for a keenly contested contract to operate and manage the Sultanate’s first ever ‘Dry Port’ in South Al Batinah Governorate. The partnership also includes Borusan Logistics International Oman LLC, the local subsidiary of Turkish integrated logistics services provider Borusan Lojistik, and Shumookh Investment & Services LLC, the investment arm of the Public Establishment for Industrial Estates ( PEIE ) of Oman.
According to Mohammed Jawad bin Hassan bin Suleiman, Chairman of PSC ‘s Board of Directors, all four companies have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) affirming their joint intent to participate in a competitive tender for the Dry Port Operation & Management (O&M) contract. The partnership has since submitted an Expression of Interest (EoI) in bidding for the prestigious contract.
The Dry Port is the centrepiece of an ambitious strategy by the Omani government to establish a world-scale logistics destination at Barka in South Al Batinah Governorate. Overseeing the initiative is the Supreme Council for Planning (SCP) and the Public Establishment for Industrial Estates ( PEIE ). The South Al Batinah Logistics Area (SABLA), as it is officially known, is the cornerstone of a long-term strategy by the government to position Oman as a logistics gateway to the Middle East.
A project site spread over 8,100 hectares has been identified at the intersection of the Barka-Nakhl Road and the Muscat-Al Batinah Expressway route, as well as the planned rail line between Sohar and Muscat. Activities and facilities within the Logistics Area will include a customs bonded dry port, eventual intermodal rail terminal, warehouse and distribution facilities, open area storage yards, truck parking, and service centres, amongst others.
Development is currently focused on Phase 1 encompassing a 30-hectare area featuring a Dry Port and a number of Logistics Area plots. Conceived as a full-service inland port, this first-of-its-kind facility in the Sultanate is designed to serve as a customs bonded gateway location for shippers to receive and deliver their cargo originating from or to the greater Muscat Governorate via the country’s ports and land boarders, including the Port of Sohar amongst others. In partnering with well-established players in the regional and international logistics and supply chain industry, PSC aims to make a concerted bid for the Dry Port O&M contract, say experts. APM Terminals, one of the world’s largest port and terminal operations, has a 30 per cent share in Salalah Port Services Company , which operates Oman’s premier container transshipment hub at Raysut in Dhofar Governorate.
Turkish-based international logistics heavyweight Borusan Lojistik is a key player in international land, air, railway and maritime transportation operations. The company operates subsidiaries in a number of countries around the world. Muscat-based Shumookh Investment & Services invests in initiatives and companies that have the potential to create new growth industries in Oman. A shortlist of firms prequalified to participate in the next stage of the Dry Port O&M tendering process is expected to be announced shortly.

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