Hoist understands that the expansion of the Oman International Container Terminal (OICT) will increase the port’s container handling capacity from 800,000 TEU to 1.5 million TEU when completed later this year.

Under the auspice of HE Said Hamdoon, undersecretary ministry of transport and communication, the ceremony was also attended by senior representatives of the shipping industry, China Harbour Construction Company, Sohar Industrial Port Company and OICT.

Construction works will include building of a new one-kilometre quay and a 68-hectare container yard. The expanded box facility will be fitted with three new post-Panamax quay cranes, 14 rubber-tyred gantry (RTG) cranes, alongside the port’s existing four quay cranes.

Andre Toet, CEO of Sohar Industrial Port Company, said that by enhancing its container handling capabilities it will help attract a greater number of mainliners to call at the Omani port.

"A consortium of large container shipping lines, the so-called "G6" is already expanding in using Sohar as their port of call," said Toet.

"We truly believe that our expansion and the opportunities offered by Sohars’ location will stimulate further increase of activities in Sohar.

"It will not only make Sohar more attractive to bring more transhipment cargo, it will also offer an excellent opportunity to bring back the Omani cargoes which are currently being served by neighbouring ports," added Toet.