MUSCAT: Hutchison Ports Sohar received CMA CGM’s APL Raffles, which is the biggest container vessel to ever call Port of Sohar, on January 23, 2022. APL Raffles is deployed by CMA CGM under its China India Middle East Express 1 (CIMEX1) service. It is a 17K TEU class container vessel with an overall length of 398.50 metres and width of 51 metres.

Commenting on the call, Anacin Kum, Chief Executive Officer of Hutchison Ports Sohar, said, “At the time when the world is facing crisis due to COVID-19 which created a major impact on the logistics industry, the call of the 17K TEU class container vessel is a significant milestone and pride for us. We are continuing to expand our facilities and increase the number of automated equipment’s to handle the largest container vessels afloat, at the time to reinforce our commitment to create a sustainable future. Together with our unrivalled skills and experience of our dedicated workforce enables us to turn around even the biggest container ships as quickly and efficiently as possible, providing world class service to our customers.”

Mark Geilenkirchen, Chief Executive Officer, SOHAR Port and Freezone, stated: “Our capabilities have grown at a staggering rate over almost 20 years, from the first vessel call we ever welcomed, the MV Gaia Triumph, which at 100m metres in length, is a just a quarter of the size of the MV APL Raffles. The arrival of this vessel marks an exciting milestone as we continue to make way for bigger ships. It also opens up new opportunities for our customers to ship more products and make global connections that were previously not possible, while keeping SOHAR competitive and ready for growth. Today’s maiden call bears witness to the steady growth in both our handling capacity and our efficiency at SOHAR Port. The continued smooth operations at Hutchison Ports Sohar have brought us new lines and more connections.”

In 2021, the terminal recorded an increase of 200 per cent in domestic movements compared to 2020 while the export full volume recorded a year-on-year growth of 9 per cent. The terminal not only fared well in terms of operations but also added two new direct services to its portfolio with Milaha’s NDX service connection Sohar to India and Qatar and Aladin Express’ new service connecting Sohar to Far East & India.

With the completion of handling 6 million TEUs, Hutchison Ports Sohar also marked its 15th year of operations in the Sultanate of Oman in 2021. In 2022, the company is vigorously working towards launching autonomous truck technology at the terminal.

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