Sohar Port and Freezone strengthening position as gateway to the Gulf
Sohar Port and Freezone has announced its intention to strengthen economic interests with global shipping powerhouses in the coming year.
Speaking at the SCM Logistics and Manufacturing World 2014 event, Asia’s largest supply chain event, Commercial Executive Edwin Lammers touched on plans to establish SOHAR as the gateway to a new trade corridor that will leverage on the port’s unique location to connect Asia, the Gulf, and the US, through Oman.
Lammers said: “Singapore handles the second largest container throughput in the world, so there is no shortage of volume. With Sohar growing at 1,000 percent since the first cargo arrived in 2007, our ability to offer a modern, competitive, and customer-orientated route through which to do business with the like of Singapore and the US is almost unrivalled in the Gulf.”.
Lower costs generated by container volumes that are projected to reach 1.5 million TEU, and Sohar’s ability to provide access to the Gulf from outside the Strait of Hormuz, were highlighted as advantages by Lammers. Oman’s free trade agreements with the US and Singapore were also viewed as crucial in pursuit of an increased share of $68 billion in US-Singapore trade.
“Not only are we within touching distance of 3.5 billion consumers, but Oman’s free trade agreements with the US mean we are in great shape to tap into this lucrative market,” Lammers added.
The Gulf is already Singapore’s seventh largest trade partner, and together with its reputation as a world-leader in handling global freight and logistics operations, Sohar’s attendance at the SCM event provided a glimpse into the global strategy that is powering Oman’s premiere industrial hub. It also came at a time when ties economic between Oman and Singapore are particularly strong.
Oman’s readiness to engage in bilateral trade has recently drawn praise from officials visiting the Sultanate. Singapore’s Senior Minister of State for Foreign Affairs and Home Affairs, and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Law have both expressed their confidence in Oman’s ability to develop a vibrant and fully diversified gateway between East and West – sentiments mirrored by Lammers.
“We are ready. It is that simple. Many of the world’s biggest shipping companies such as Maersk Line, UASC, CMA, and APL know it, and already operate from our world-class terminals,” he said.
Sohar, which is only 15 times smaller than Singapore, has attracted investments totalling $15 billion, while multi-million dollar deals have seen sustained growth in its petrochemical, automotive, logistics, and metal manufacturing clusters. An agriculture cluster is currently in the pipeline.
Uber Freight to Acquire Transplace in $2.2bn Deal
Uber Freight is to acquire logistics technology and solutions provider Transplace in a deal worth $2.25bn.
The company will pay up to $750m in common stock and the remainder in cash to TPG Capital, Transplace’s private equity owner, pending regulatory approval and closing conditions.
“This is a significant step forward, not just for Uber Freight but for the entire logistics ecosystem,” said Lior Ron, Head of Uber Freight, and former founder of the Uber-owned trucking start-up Otto.
Uber’s Big Play for Supply Chain
Transplace is one of the world's largest managed transportation and logistics networks, with 62,000 unique users on its platform and $11bn in freight under management. It offers truck brokerage and other capacity solutions, end-to-end visibility on cross border shipments, and a suite of digital solutions and consultancy services.
The purchase is the latest move by parent company Uber, which launched as a San Francisco cab-hailing app in 2011, to diversify its offering and create new revenue streams in all transport segments.
Transplace said the takeover comes amid a period of “accelerated transformation in logistics”, where globalisation, shipping and transport disruption, and widespread volatility are colliding.
Uber Freight plans to integrate the Transplace network into its own platform, which connects shippers and carriers in a dashboard that mirroring the intuitive experience found in its consumer vehicle booking and food ordering services.
“This is an opportunity to bring together complementary best-in-class technology solutions and operational excellence from two premier companies to create an industry-first shipper-to-carrier platform that will transform shippers’ entire supply chains, delivering operational resilience and reducing costs at a time when it matters most,” said Ron.
Frank McGuigan, CEO of Transplace, said the resulting merger will offer enhanced efficiency and transparency for shippers, and benefits of scale for carriers. “All in all, we expect to significantly reduce shipper and carrier empty miles to the benefit of highway and road infrastructures and the environment,” he added.
History of Uber Freight
Uber Freight was established in 2017 and separated into its own business unit the following year. In 2019 the company had expanded across the entire continental US, established a headquarters in Chicago. Later that year it launched its first international division in Europe, initially from a regional foothold in the Nertherlands, and later moving into Germany.
The logistics spinoff attracted a $500m investment from New York-based Greenbriar Equity Group in October 2020, and launched a new shipping platform for companies of all sizes in May, partly in response to a driver shortage in Canada.