Muscat: At the behest of His Majesty Sultan Haitham bin Tarik, HH Sayyid Asa'ad bin Tarik Al Said, Deputy Prime Minister for International Relations and Cooperation Affairs, Personal Representative of His Majesty the Sultan, patronized here today over the official opening ceremony of the Port of Duqm.
The ceremony was attended by Phillippe Leopold Louis Marie, King of the Belgians, and his spouse Mathilde Marie Christine Ghislaine d’Udekem d’Acoz, Queen of the Belgians.
Eng. Ahmed Hassan Al Dheeb, Deputy Chairman of the Public Authority for Special Economic Zones and Free Zones (OPAZ) stressed the importance of this remarkable milestone, reflecting the great importance of this project in contributing to the Omani economy, as a major driver for the projects in progress and others under development within Oman Vision 2040 and the renewed renaissance led by His Majesty Sultan Haitham bin Tarik.
During his speech at the opening ceremony, Al Dheeb pointed out that through OPAZ management of the Special Economic Zone at Duqm, the Authority seeks to achieve the objectives of Oman Vision 2040, including diversifying sources of income and achieving balanced development, attracting and localizing foreign and local investments, generating job opportunities, and achieving the expected goals of the Zone by providing the infrastructure to meet the requirements of employing these investments. He added that such infrastructure includes Duqm Airport, modern roads network, telecommunications, a multi-purpose fishing port, and the Port of Duqm, in addition to providing advantages and incentives that contribute to facilitating investors’ works.
He explained that this strategic Port will represent an important tributary to the economic sector, as well as a qualitative shift in improving the competitiveness of the Sultanate of Oman and vital addition to the integration with other ports of the country.
He further added: “Given the unique geographical location of the Port, which is planned to be a logistical hub serving international shipping lines between Asia and Europe, the Port has been equipped with high specifications. It consists of 3 main berths, namely the commercial berth, the government berth, and the liquid materials berth. The total length of the breakwaters is about 8.7 km and the Port's basin depth is 18 meters, while the entry canal is 19 meters, which qualifies it to receive and handle the world’s largest container ships and very large crude carriers (VLCC).
The Port provides multiple services for ships of all sizes, and through its integration with the dry dock, ship maintenance service is provided, in addition to the other services that the ships need.
Al Dheeb pointed out that one of the most important components of this Port is the containers cranes and bridge cranes. The completion rate of the Cranes Supply and Installation Project reached 60%, which will be placed in the commercial berth in the Port of Duqm to deal with the world’s largest container ships, he affirmed.
The installation of these cranes in the Port will start in March 2022, with expected completion to be in Q1 of 2023, he further added.
OPAZ Deputy Chairman said that the project includes the supply of 4 modern automatic cranes to transport containers from Ships to Shore (STS) and back with a capacity of 65 tons, pointing out that the project also includes the purchase of 12 RTG cranes with a capacity of 41 tons.
Annick De Ridder, Chairperson of the board of directors of Antwerp Port Authority said that this celebration reflects a collaboration that started 12 years ago.
She said, “In 2010, the Antwerp Port Authority established the daughter company 'Port of Antwerp International', or as we call it PAI, to develop and roll out the international strategy of the Port of Antwerp. The very first international project of PAI was the shareholding participation in the Port of Duqm Company together with our Belgian partner which is nowadays ‘DEME Concessions’. While 'Port of Antwerp International' has strong ambitions for further internationalization, the Port of Duqm is and will always remain an important part of our growing international network”.
She affirmed that Port of Duqm has all the potential to become a success story, which the Port of Antwerp will continue to support.
She spoke during her speech about the Green hydrogen and the Hyport Duqm project, which is a large-scale green hydrogen project between OQ and DEME Concessions.
Eng. Abdulrahman Salim Al Hatmi, CEO of Asyad Group said that the Port of Duqm is one of the most significant infrastructure developments in the logistics sector, which translates Oman’s vision towards economic diversification and the acceleration of the logistics sector’s advancement, as underpinned by theNational Logistics Strategy- cementing the Sultanate of Oman’s position as a competitive logistics hub.
He said that the inauguration represents a pivotal step in Asyad Group’s continued efforts to achieve its strategy and plans of building an integrated logistics ecosystem under Asyad’s umbrella, fortifying the complementary amongst Omani ports; a fundamental pillar of the supply chain and the core of the trade flows, connecting Oman to the world.
He further added, “Through the joint efforts, the sustained support of various government authorities and the fruitful strategic partnership between Asyad Group and the Consortium Antwerp Port; the Port of Duqm is proceeding at a deliberate pace towards becoming a driving force for the national economy and a commercial gateway connecting international shipping routes from east to west. Over the past three years, the Port of Duqm attracted 2242 vessels and saw an increase in general cargo handling traffic, heading towards profitability at early stages.
It is the readiness of the Port of Duqm which will help attract foreign investors and lay the foundation of a promising space that provides the business community with opportunities and give them access to global markets, Al Hatmi said.
Al Hatmi pointed out that the Port also contributes to empowering the fisheries sector by providing logistic solutions to exportfish to international markets at high standards. Moreover, it will be a major catalyst in enabling Oman to play a vital role in the international stage in the future clean energy projects, such as the green hydrogen project, he elaborated.
“Asyad Group ramped up its efforts to develop Port of Duqm’s capabilities and increase its competitiveness by developing ASYAD Drydock services up to international standards, as an integral part of the port. Thanks to Asyad’s container Line service as well which was the first container shipping line calling Port of Duqm, and connecting it with other ports in Oman,” he further noted.
Speaking about the strategic partnership with Consortium Antwerp Port, Al Hatmi affirmed that this partnership captures the close ties between Oman and Belgium that we look forward to consolidating while bringing the Port of Duqm to the forefront of the regional maritime landscape. “We appreciate our Belgian partner’s continuous support to our national logistics capabilities by enabling Asyad’s national arm for ports and terminals management to operate Duqm’s general cargo terminal since 2021, and by providing maritime services through our partnership with CTO,” he added.
For his part, Luc Vandenbulcke, CEO of DEME said, “We are very proud to be partners with ASYAD and Port of Antwerp on the development of Port of Duqm Company. Especially, as I see the partners working to a common goal, as one team”.
He affirmed that the inauguration of the port is a fruit of the works done by partners with intensive and open-minded cooperation.
He explained that these interactions make Oman, and Duqm in particular, a very good place to do business for foreign investors, in partnership, with a strong Omani business network. He pointed out that the Port of Duqm Company has almost doubled its business, and is showing positive results.
He further added, “The liquid bulk terminal is ready to start the export of liquids, from the state-of-the-art refinery, and in medium term green ammonia, from HYPORT Duqm. The process to attract a strong container terminal operator to the port is well on its way, following a worldwide approach, leveraging on the network of Port of Duqm Company’s shareholders”.
After that, HH Sayyid Asa’adbin Tarik Al Said, the chief guest of the opening ceremony unveiled the commemorative plaque, marking the official opening of the Port of Duqm, in the presence of the King and the Queen of the Belgians.
The official opening ceremony of the Port of Duqm was attended by ministers, undersecretaries, sheikhs and dignitaries of the Governorate of Al Wusta, as well as members of the official delegation accompanying the King of the Belgians and his spouse the Queen of the Belgians.
At the behest of HM Sultan Haitham Bin Tarik, HH Sayyid Asaad bin Tarik al Said, Deputy Prime Minister for International Relations and Cooperation Affairs on Friday presided over the official opening ceremony of Duqm Port. @portofduqm
— Oman Observer (@OmanObserver) February 4, 2022