- HE Dr Ahmed Al Futaisi, MoTC, officially opens new Port facilities
- Auto Gate will make shipments at SOHAR faster and more secure
- Huge infrastructure investments are creating a major regional hub
As the world’s leading port network, Hutchison Ports is no stranger to significant infrastructure investments or world-leading technologies. As the container terminal operator at SOHAR Port in Oman, Hutchison is taking its next bold step towards modernisation and full automation, with the launch of its new Auto Gate system at Terminal C. The Terminal already features remote-controlled quayside cranes capable of handling next generation 20,000 TEU vessels.
His Excellency Dr Ahmed Mohammed Salem Al-Futaisi, Minister of Transport and Communications in Oman, was on hand on Saturday to officially inaugurate the new, state-of-the-art facilities. “Auto Gate promises to make container shipments at Hutchison Ports SOHAR even faster and more secure, strengthening the Port’s already excellent reputation as the new Gateway to the Gulf,” said Albert Pang, CEO of Hutchison Ports SOHAR. He continued: “We recently introduced an automated truck appointment system in SOHAR; the introduction of Auto Gate will continue to reduce our already fast turnaround times for shippers and trucking companies alike.”
The Auto Gate system utilises a combination of smart technologies, allowing truck drivers to pass through the container terminal gates with no paper documentation and no delays. Drivers can remain inside their vehicles at all times during security checks, inspections and container movements. The new system includes machine-readable cards to store driver information; character-recognition cameras to read truck plate numbers; self-service kiosks for inputting shipping codes; and RFID tags to further improve terminal security.
Saturday’s events also marked the inauguration of Ocean Alliance services to SOHAR. The Ocean Alliance, which was launched last month with members CMA CGM, China Cosco Shipping, Evergreen Line, and Orient Overseas Container Line, offers forty services on east-west trades with 498 port calls. Weekly calls from such major maritime players demonstrate how Hutchison Ports SOHAR is playing an increasingly important role in attracting new container cargo volumes to the Sultanate - Q1/2017 container throughput at SOHAR was up again by 6% compared to Q1 last year.
Mark Geilenkirchen, SOHAR Port CEO, welcomed the new Auto Gate facilities: “Investments in technology to optimise and modernise terminal operations, increase turnaround speed for our customers — and time is money in logistics. These are savings that can be passed down right along the supply chain to make Oman even more competitive as a significant regional hub. As we become more attractive to international logistics companies, investors and traders, the new Auto Gates will help to open up a new world of opportunities for Oman.”