SOHAR, SO GOOD

Oman 2014 | INDUSTRY & MINING | FOCUS: INDUSTRIAL ESTATES

Since the first industrial estate was established in 1985, a slew has followed with the mission of encouraging diversification.

Since the Rusayl Industrial Estate was established in 1983, Oman has been set on the path to diversification.

A visit from HM Sultan Qaboos to Rusayl Industrial Estate on February 9, 1991 is today celebrated annually as Industry Day, with events including the meeting of industrialists and government officials. While the estate was just the first of many, its significance has not been forgotten. Today, the country's industrial estates are in the safe hands of the Public Establishment for Industrial Estates (PEIE), which also manages the Knowledge Oasis Muscat (KOM) IT park and the Al Mazunah Free Zone. To date, Oman has established six industrial estates—Rusayl, Sohar, Raysut, Sur, Nizwa, and Buraimi—with one more on the way—Samail.

Rusayl Industrial Estate is located 45 kilometers from Muscat and is still Oman's flagship site, having grown from just 12 factories to over 150 today.

Sohar Industrial Estate was established in 1992 and is positioned between Muscat and Dubai, having been especially located to offer its tenants access to international markets. Serviced by Sohar Port, the estate is undergoing rapid expansion and will soon be home to over 100 businesses. Production here included marble, paper recycling, detergents, leather, furniture, a host of food and beverages, steel, glass, and much more. Its twin in industry is Raysut Industrial Estate, established in the same year and located in the Dhofar region. It boasts significant warehouse infrastructure across 30 hectares and is positioned close to Port Salalah, which can accommodate S-class vessels—a rarity in the region. The estate manufacturers a host of products, including stationery, ice, PVC pipes, steel, medical supplies, solar heaters, fertilizer, and several categories of food and beverage.

Established in 1994, Nizwa Industrial Estate is located in Oman's interior, 180 kilometers from Muscat. The Muscat-Nizwa highway has opened up the Al-Dakhliya, Al-Wusta, and Al-Dhahira regions, helping the estate to excel in the production of ceramics, plastics, medical products, plywood, tea packaging, mineral water, water tanks, and more.

Buraimi Industrial Estate came along in 1998 and is located close to the UAE border. Its tenants are focused mainly on the Gulf region and Central Asia.

Sur Industrial Estate is situated in the Al Sharqia region, and was established in 1999. This particular estate is focused on natural gas and associated services. Its deep-water harbor has attracted such tenants as Oman LNG, the National Gas Company, and the Oman India Fertilizer Company (OMIFCO).

In 2010, the Samail Industrial Estate was announced, with 130 investors having already signed up. The PEIE is currently working to get the project up and running as it hopes to become the latest industrial estate in Oman.

Aside from estates, the PEIE also administers the Al Mazunah Free Zone, which opened its doors in 1999. Close to the Yemen border, the zone's tenants enjoy tax-free operations, and visitors can even transit between Oman and Yemen without visa procedures. So far, the zone hosts 21 businesses and an exhibition area of over 450 hectares on 100 plots.

Oman's industrial estate framework is set to remain the backbone of its diversification efforts over the years to come.