News & Events

November, 2014

Four more SMEs sign up to SOHAR Freezone at Business Opportunities Forum in Muscat

SOHAR has signed new service agreements with four companies that will join the ranks at its bourgeoning freezone. Officials from SOHAR Freezone and representatives from the four companies completed the deals at the Business Opportunities Forum in Muscat on 16 November, as part of ongoing cooperation between the management of SOHAR and the Oman Chamber of Commerce and Industry to promote economic growth.

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National Marine Services, Sami National Service Trading, Falaj Al-Qabael International LLC, and Al Batinah International Engineering, will provide a range of general, construction, marine, and maintenance services. SOHAR CEO Jamal Aziz said the combined value of the 18 contracts these companies will manage is around 673,000 OMR. With hundreds of organisations in attendance at the two-day event, Mr. Aziz also took the opportunity to emphasise that SOHAR is committed to its mandate as an SME business promoter.

“We have developed a sizeable manufacturing base and expect investment opportunities to grow rapidly in the coming years. This is in addition to modern infrastructure taking shape in SOHAR, with the opening of SOHAR Airport in two days’ time; as well as the completion of expressways and planned rail freight services in SOHAR.”


“It is also no secret that the biggest and most sustainable economies in the world have been built off of the successes of SMEs. They are one of the biggest drivers of economic growth and form the backbone of modern, prosperous, and diversified supply chains. Our role as a business promoter means we see great potential in supporting forums that inform businesses about the many opportunities that await them in SOHAR.”


“From the outset, our focus centred on building relationships with companies both large and small, and in providing them with the tools they need to succeed. Newcomers in SOHAR are guided through securing the necessary permissions to begin operations through a ‘One-Stop-Shop’ that has been designed to simplify clearance processes for permits. Free Trade Agreements with the United States and Singapore are among the host of other benefits available to business owners, as are the low levels of core capital required – an important consideration for any aspiring start-up or SME,” said Mr. Aziz.


More than 200 Omani companies attended this year’s Business Opportunities Forum, each seeking to secure a share of the lucrative contracts and tenders on offer. Around 60 companies shared details of available projects. Entrepreneurs and senior leaders from the Middle East, Europe, Africa and Asia were also vying for the opportunity to establish trade partnerships with local and foreign firms at the event.


“It proved very interesting to see companies interact at the Forum, especially given the global nature of those participating in it. It was also a great opportunity for SOHAR to put itself in the shop window and showcase the abundance of land, low-cost energy, and highly skilled staff at its disposal,” said Mr. Aziz.


The Forum was put together by the Oman Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Public Authority for SME Development, and Oman Oil Company. Its main objective was the advancement of communications and dialogue within the private sector in order to promote trade activities between large multinationals and SMEs. In doing so it is hoped respective business requirements will be better understood and aligned.