Sohar: Oman government is working on establishing a new company to develop Muscat's Sultan Qaboos Port into an integrated tourism port after shifting the present commercial activities to Sohar.
The port's commercial trading activities, except import of essential items, will be shifted to Sohar by August this year.
"We are working on developing a company to re-build the port (as per the master plan). The developer will build the tourism port and implement the master plan prepared by the ministry," Dr Ahmed bin Mohammed Al Futaisi, Minister of Transport and Communications, told the Times of Oman on the sidelines of a function to mark the arrival of the first 10,000 twenty foot equivalent unit (TEU) at the newly expanded Sohar port.
"Right now, there is no intention on the part of the Ministry of Transport and communications to build (the facilities) as per the master plan shown to the people," added the minister.
However, he noted that Port Services Corporation (PSC), which presently operates the Sultan Qaboos Port, will continue to operate the tourism terminal and activities not shifted to Sohar port.
Master plan for new terminal
Asked whether the company would be a state-owned one, he said, "This is yet to be decided. We are now studying the formation of the company and it will be announced later."
Earlier reports indicated that the master plan includes building a new terminal for third generation cruise ships, hotels and recreational facilities, shops and multipurpose buildings that are designed to reflect Omani marine heritage and history.
According to the master plan, the new terminal will be able to receive three cruise vessels at a time, which will be achieved by rehabilitating the existing terminal and building new terminals. It will also build a marina, including floating docks to accommodate 150 boats and yachts. The new layout includes the construction of a tourism hotel complex as per global standards, commercial space that reflects Omani architectural design, a centre for recreational activities, restaurants, coffee shops and multi-storied buildings.
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