Sohar Port and Freezone in Oman and Shenzhen Port in China have signed an agreement covering the development of mutually beneficial trade and shipping business as part of the Chinese One Belt One Road initiative.
Dong Yanze of the Ports Administration of Shenzhen Municipality and a delegation of other high-ranking Chinese officials attended the ceremony.
Both ports play a critical role in their respective regions and the agreement coincides with China's construction of twenty-first century maritime silk route networks, providing a timely opportunity for deepening cooperation on both sides.
The agreement will help to increase understanding and relations in areas that include port planning and construction, management and operations, environmental protection, information technology, personnel training and port security.
CEO Mark Geilenkirchen summed up the importance of this agreement from Sohar perspective: “The Middle East plays a critical role in the Chinese One Belt One Road initiatives to develop modern land and maritime silk routes, that will stretch from Shanghai all the way to Hamburg; thanks to the prime location of Sohar outside the Strait of Hormuz, we are ideally placed to act as an important nodal hub on these maritime routes, as from here cargo can be directed though the Suez Canal or around the Cape, depending on vessel size and final destination.
“We are naturally delighted that Shenzen Port has recognised this and we will be working closely with them and the other main ports in China to develop closer ties and more business as we move forward.”
In October, Mark Geilenkirchen was invited as keynote speaker to the China International Logistics Forum in Shenzhen, and spoke to Chinese officials about the development of One Belt One Road and the potential role that Oman could play in its development.
With the support of Sohar container terminal operators Hutchison Ports, part of the Hong Kong based multinational group, both sides have been working to strengthen ties.
The deal signed formalises the establishment of a sister-port relationship, and commits the management of both ports to maintain regular contact and send their staff for exchange visits to discuss details of interest to both sides, including recommending business partners to one other and promoting broader exchanges and cooperation across their respective regions.