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Sohar Industrial Estate .

Sohar, (ONA)- Sohar Industrial Estate has been one of the areas that attract investments; thanks to the scores of facilities and incentives provided to any project that may be directly linked to any of the underway industrial projects at Sohar Industrial Port which is a short distance from the 5th and 6th stages of Sohar Industrial Area.

Sohar Industrial Estate is one of the areas under the umbrella of the Public Establishment for Industrial Estates (PEIE). The area, 220 km from Muscat and about 180 km from Dubai and about 100 km from Al Buraimi Governorate, was opened on November 16th 1992. The location of the area in the mid-way among major markets gives it a special importance.

The areas are easily accessible through the Al Batinah dual-carriageway. Moreover, the area is in the mid-way among major local and Gulf ports. This ensures flexibility and easiness in goods transportation to and from the main domestic and foreign markets. The area's location parallel to Muscat/Al Batinah road and its proximity of Sohar Industrial Port have given it a distinguished position and made it the spot of local and foreign investors.

The size of Sohar Indusial Area is approximately 21 million square meters. The area is considered one of the fastest growing areas in the Sultanate due to the merits it has. The location of Sohar Industrial area is one of the main factors for attracting industrial investment. The Area is located near Sohar Industrial Port (not more than 6 km). Moreover, it is only less than 20 km from the underway Sohar Airport.

Hilal bin Hamad al Hasani, CEO of the PEIE said that the number of projects in Sohar Industrial Estate as of the first quarter of 2010, stands at 184 including 80 that are already in the production stage. 40 projects are still under construction and more than 40 projects are already under incorporation. The size of investments for these projects amount to RO.1.428 billion.

In a statement to Oman News Agency (ONA), he added that Sohar Industrial Estate is divided into 7 stages. The occupancy rate at the first, second, third and fourth is 100% compared to 84% for the fifth stage and 75% for the sixth stage. He added that the infrastructure projects for these stages have been completed by the end of last year.

He pointed out that the total size of the seventh stage is 8.9 million square meters; the biggest stage at the region. 8% of the total size has been allocated for industrial projects.

‘There are many industries in Sohar Industrial Estate, the most important of  which is Sohar Aluminum Smelter and other complimentary industries, pipe industry, ceramic industry, glass industries and a number of food stuff industries, he added.

‘The number of manpower in Sohar Industrial Estate now stands at 6111 including 2725 Omanis, 40% Omanization rate, he furthered.

Sohar Industrial Estate is important also in terms of generating job opportunities for national manpower as Sohar Industrial Estate is in the Al Batinah region, which population is 26.5% of the total population of the Sultanate.  The available statistics also show that the number of population in the Al Batinah region as of 2008 amounted to 750,000 persons.

PEIE also seeks to implement and rehabilitation process for the seventh stage at its next development plan to meet the growing demand for investment and avail the services and infrastructure required for investments for which lands have been allocated at the seventh stage.

The interest in the industrial area and the focus on its development and completing the infrastructure, as well as, giving it the priority in implementing the projects emanates from the need to collaborate all effort to create job opportunities for the national manpower in the wilayat of Sohar in particular and the Al Batinah region in general.

PEIE also seeks to complete the upstream and downstream structure for the other stages. The works include the construction of sanitary drainage plants, expansion of the current plants, construction of canals to discharge rain water to protect the area against rain water, complete the security boundary for the area and completing the road works at the third, fourth, fifth and sixth stages.

In a bid to avail the best services to investors and manpower in the area, PEIE allocated 700,000 square meters to construct an integrated residential city to meet the needs of the companies operating in the area and provide their staff with appropriate housing units. The projects are expected to be implemented in the coming plan.