Muscat - On the back of higher volume of container throughput, the Sultanate’s ports sector is expected to see robust growth in 2014. “Aided by construction of a port at Duqm and new cargo terminals at Salalah and Sohar and the country’s strategic position, Oman continues to develop into a regional powerhouse for the shipping and transshipment of dry bulk goods,” according to Oman Shipping Report 2014, published by Business Monitor International. The report forecasts that container throughput at Salalah forecast is set to return to 3.2 per cent growth, following an estimated 2013 growth of 3.7 per cent. Growth to 2018 will average 6.1 per cent.
The total tonnage throughput at Sohar forecast to reach 66.36 million tonnes in 2014 — an expansion of 18.9 per cent — as operations are transferred from Port Sultan Qaboos. Growth will average 8.2 per cent over the medium term, while the total trade real forecast at 5.6 per cent, and to average 2.3 per cent per annum to 2018. “Port of Salalah is set to receive even more investment in an attempt to position the facility as an Eastern gateway to the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) and boost its transshipment appeal,” says the report. With a $143 million expansion of its general cargo terminal and building of a liquid jetty already being undertaken, and both due to be completed by mid-2014, there are now plans for a major new breakwater, more liquid jetties, container berths, a cruise terminal, and tank farm — to be built over the next seven years.
The volumes handled on Oman’s freight transport network are set to enjoy strong growth over the coming years. In 2014, the Sultanate’s total trade real forecast at 5.6 per cent, and to average 2.3 per cent per annum to 2018. “The sector will benefit not only from a rapidly growing economy, and consumer base, but also sizeable investment,” it says. To enable the growth further is the construction of a new port at Duqm and the announcement that all cargo operations are to be moved from Port Sultan Qaboos to Sohar by the end of August 2014, notes the report. Duqm will be a new area of interest as lots of industries are going to be developed there, including an oil refinery. With these infrastructure developments we will see Oman develop as a hub for transshipment in the future. On the macroeconomic side, the report says, “Growth in the Omani ports sector will be supported by an expanding GDP and rising private consumption”.(Source: Oman Daily Observer)