Operations resume at Salalah Port after brief weather disruption

Salalah: Following a brief suspension of operations on Friday owing to adverse weather in Dhofar Governorate, Port of Salalah announced yesterday (Saturday) that services had resumed and were shortly expected to be fully restored.

An official of the transhipment and logistics hub said the suspension was called as a “precautionary measure” with a view to ensuring the safety of employees, customers and port equipment during the tropical depression that hit southern Oman on Friday.

Citing “heavy rains and poor visibility”, the port announced a pause in container and general cargo operations on Friday as swathes of Salalah and other parts of the governorate were left flooded in the wake of the torrential downpour.

“As the weather situation improved this morning, we decide to gradually restore services starting with the Container Terminal and we hope to be fully normal before the evening,” the official said.

Port of Salalah was among the worst hit when Cyclone Mekunu slammed into the southern part of the Sultanate in May 2018.  A torrent of floodwater had deluged the maritime gateway, causing significant damage to infrastructure and machinery, while also depositing massive quantities of silt and debris across the port area. Some dhows that had sheltered in the harbour against the storm had capsized and had to be salvaged.

Given the scale of the damage, recovery efforts continued for well over a year. While the General Cargo Terminal was returned to normality in the first quarter of 2019, services at the Container Terminal were restored to its pre-cyclone capacity only by June-end 2019. Earlier this year, the port said it had reached a settlement with its insurer for a sum of $67.75 million as damages arising out the destruction and disruption caused by Cyclone Mekunu.