The road project linking Saudi Arabia to Oman is in its final stages in Oman. It is expected to be available for use by early 2015. The Executive Commercial Manager at Sohar Port and Free zone said that the opening of the new road will reduce the almost 2,000km distance between the two countries by around 25% will could help to boost trade, foreign investment. Among the development projects that are aimed at making Sohar a logistical hub is the construction of a new airport and a railway line.
Although Lammers doesn’t know how far Saudi Arabia has gone in executing the road project within its territory, his expectations are high that the 160km within Oman will “be open by the end of the year.” Saudi has to build around 519km.
Lammers stated that the road project “is just one part of a multibillion dollar investment in Middle Eastern logistics infrastructure and the hundreds of kilometers of roads and expressways being built in Oman.” He said that the investments are already bearing fruits with “the arrival of some of the world’s biggest shipping lines and manufacturers” in Sohar. Lammers is expecting “this trend to continue” as speedy roads, rail and air links continue to be developed by the government. He believes such infrastructures attract foreign investors and promote the diversification of the economy but warned that the projects should link the port with the region’s biggest consumer market for businesses to be vibrant.
The Sohar airport will soon be opened but Lammers thinks that the “the big game changer will be the rail” because it “will bring with it unrivalled opportunities for us to increase the efficiency, speed, and reach of inland transportation and transform Sohar into a multimodal logistics hub.”