Conrad Prabhu -
MUSCAT, OCT 17 -
An action plan for the expansion and modernisation of Salalah Port, a key maritime and logistics hub on the Indian Ocean, is being firmed by Tanfeedh — the National Programme for Enhancing Economic Diversification in the Sultanate.
The Implementation Support & Follow-up Unit (ISFU) of Tanfeedh met last week to discuss the initiative, along with other proposals designed to strengthen the Sultanate’s capabilities as a regional logistics hub.
Officials representing a number of maritime and logistics stakeholders deliberated on the ongoing expansion and development of the General Cargo Terminal at Salalah Port, as well as initiatives to boost the cargo handling capabilities of the hub.
“Options were examined to enable the implementation agency to submit an integrated plan of action to increase the volume of goods,” said Tanfeedh in a tweet in reference to the expansion and development of the General Cargo Terminal.
As for the Salalah Port Expansion Initiative, the agency added: “It was agreed that the private sector would increase (cargo handling capabilities) by replacing the cranes with larger ones to cope with (the requirements of international ships calling at the port)”.
Tanfeedh has proposed a significant expansion of capacity at Salalah Port’s Container Terminal via the construction of three new berths – 7, 8 and 9. This would add 2.5 million TEU of additional capacity to the terminal.
The expansion, says Tanfeedh, is necessary to exploit Salalah’s strategic location abutting international shipping lanes traversing the Indian Ocean, as well as to prepare for an anticipated uptick in container shipping in the wider region.
Tanfeedh has also mooted the rehabilitation of government berths, redevelopment of the old general cargo docks, and the establishment of a dedicated corridor for the movement of dry and liquid cargoes through the port. These initiatives are key to easing pitfalls and bottlenecks in the speedy and efficient handling of cargoes at the hub, according to the agency.
Additionally, Tanfeedh has recommended the establishment of a Central Service Station that will oversee the efficient movement of dry cargoes from the port to warehouses and distribution clusters operating within the adjoining Salalah Free Zone. A similar facility is also mooted for the development of a pipeline corridor between liquid storage hub envisioned in the future, and a new liquid jetty under construction at the maritime gateway.
Around $143 million is currently being invested in the development of a state-of-the-art General Cargo Terminal designed to cater to surging limestone, gypsum, cement, grain and other general cargo volumes being handled at Salalah Port. Dedicated jetties envisioned as part of this investment will also enable the handling of liquids associated with the multibillion dollar petrochemical schemes in operation or under development at the adjoining Salalah Free Zone.
Work on the new 1,266 metre-long quay – the centrepiece of the new General Cargo Terminal project — kicked off in December 2015. With an 18-metre-draft, the new terminal will be able to receive large commercial carriers, cruise liners and bulk tankers, among other types of cargo vessels.