Indian firm plans free trade warehousing zone in Oman

August 16th, 2008 - 4:40 pm ICT by IANS  

Dubai, Aug 16 (IANS) Leading Indian supply chain solutions provider Arshiya International is planning to set up a free trade warehousing zone (FTWZ) in the city of Sohar in Oman. “The Sultanate of Oman - and Sohar with its new port in particular - is a perfect gateway into the Middle East because of its strategic location outside of the Straits of Hormuz,” Arshiya International chairman and chief executive Ajay S. Mittal told the Oman Observer.

“We believe in the concept that Oman is a natural hub for the Middle East, especially for products coming from the Indian subcontinent and the Asia-Pacific countries,” he added.

The proposed FTWZ at Sohar, 240 km northwest of the Oman’s capital Muscat, will be the first such facility in the Gulf nation.

It is being planned within the special economic zone being developed by the Sohar Industrial Port Co (SIPC). Ashriya officials recently visited the site, according to the report.

Mittal said the first phase of the project would be open by 2012 provided land allocation and other approvals were received before the end of this year.

“Typically, we will have a container freight station where containers can be kept as it is, stacked one on top of the other,” he was quoted as saying.

“There will also be warehouses of all kinds - ambient temperature, temperature controlled, cold storage, and so on. There will also be open yard space,” he said.

Mittal said product reassembly, packing and labelling, for eventual distribution in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries and the Middle East, would result in “significant savings in terms of logistics costs, working capital costs, and labour costs for businesses”.

Arshiya’s regional director for the Middle East Flemming Jensen said the project would be based on the ‘hub-and-spokes concept’, with the proposed Sohar FTWZ as the hub eventually connecting all main freight centres of the Gulf and the Middle East.

The entire initiative is part of Arshiya’s Project Emerald, which envisages a FTWZ hub in Sohar with spokes all over the Middle East.

Project Emerald, Jensen said, fitted into Arshiya’s wider business strategy, dubbed Project Diamond, for developing logistics infrastructure across India, which included plans for FTWZs in Mumbai and Noida near New Delhi.

Headquartered in India, Arshiya has offices in Singapore, Australia, Dubai, Qatar, Oman and the US.

The company provides knowledge-driven solutions to its global customers specifically focused on the areas of innovative technology, business process outsourcing, supply chain, demand chain and financial flow management services.

Among its key business entities are BDP India and Gulf, which provides shipping and global logistics services to its customers, Cyberlog Technologies, Genco India and Arshiya Knowledge Centre.

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