SOHAR, 31 May 2016
- Eighth annual Herring Reception in SOHAR celebrates Rotterdam partnership
- Over 200 staff and industry specialists attend this year’s networking reception
- In the Netherlands, people have been eating raw herring for over 600 years
Now in its eighth year, the SOHAR Herring Reception brings together SOHAR staff and stakeholders with industry leaders from all over the Sultanate. The event has become a regular feature in the SOHAR calendar and provides a chance to reflect on the strong ties that have been established between the Sultanate of Oman and The Netherlands. As SOHAR Port and Freezone continues to build on its regional success story, investments of more than US$25 billion have helped to create a world-class facility, with industry leaders across many sectors now firmly established in both the Port and its neighbouring Freezone.
Herring are small fish, very popular among Dutch people, which are caught in the North Sea and the East Sea, near Denmark, in a short season from mid-May to mid-July. The herring is then frozen and laid in salt for a few days to ripen. The first ‘Hollandse Nieuwe’ (Holland’s new herring) marks the start of the annual fishing season and, with a little help from KLM, reached SOHAR yesterday at almost the same time as they reached Amsterdam.
People from Holland, the West of the Netherlands, have been eating raw herring for over 600 years, traditionally holding the fish by its tail, dipping it in onions and then lowering it whole into the mouth. As some of the guests pointed out, it’s an acquired taste, although insiders say that thanks to the unusually warm spring in Europe, the herring is excellent this year. Herrings feed on plankton, and plankton grows in sunlight — so the better the weather, the fatter and better the herring.
Andre Toet, SOHAR CEO, used the occasion to talk about his past five years at SOHAR: “The Port of Rotterdam has a long and rich history, dating back to the 1300’s. By comparison, we are still at the beginning of a long journey in SOHAR, but our vision is to create the same kind of long-term sustainable growth and prosperity for maritime, business and industry sectors, right here in the Sultanate of Oman.”
SOHAR management held a Shipping Agents’ meeting ahead of the reception, a regularly scheduled open forum that allows the Port and its associated maritime industries to update each other, and to ensure that the communication channels stay as short as possible. CEO Andre Toet summed up when he said: “As the region’s fastest growing Gateway Port, at SOHAR we try to make sure we are not only talking, but also take every opportunity to listen - to ensure we stay fully aligned with our tenants, our stakeholders, our investors, the government and the local community.”