Port of Salalah evolving into a multipurpose hub

17/07/2017 06:11 AST

The planned addition of a dedicated jetty for LPG exports is the latest in a success of infrastructure enhancements at the Port of Salalah that are driving its transformation into a multipurpose hub, according to a top official of the port.

Ahmed Akaak, Deputy CEO, said the new jetty — designed to support the export of Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) from a new LPG Extraction Plant under development at the adjoining Salalah Free Zone — will underpin the port’s evolution into a global hub that will serve a diverse variety of product and cargo streams.

“This jetty will definitely add value to Salalah as it becomes a multipurpose port,” said Ahmed Akaak. “We are setting up another component to our liquid facilities that will provide significant returns, not only to the port, but to the country as well,” he added.

The official made the comments at last week’s sign-off ceremony at which agreements were signed with various stakeholders for the implementation of the Sultanate’s first LPG extraction plant at Salalah Free Zone, with related storage and export facilities to be built at the nearby Port of Salalah. The $826 million LPG extraction plant and support infrastructure is being implemented by Salalah LPG SFZCO, wholly owned by Oman Gas Company — part of Oman Oil Group.

The LPG export jetty will be an integral part of a Liquid Hub currently under development as part of the new General Cargo Terminal project being implemented at the port. Methanol produced by Salalah Methanol Company at the adjoining free zone is presently the main liquid bulk commodity exported out of Salalah Port. Bulk liquid volumes, estimated at 510,000 metric tonnes in Q1 2017, are projected to grow once the LPG plant is operational in 2020. Output from the latter facility is projected at 300,000 tonnes per annum, although around 10 per cent of this volume is earmarked for distribution within Dhofar Governorate.

Another likely bulk liquid commodity being lined up for export via Salalah Port is ammonia to be produced by a new $750 million plant planned downstream of the methanol scheme. Promoted by Oman Oil Company, the new ammonia facility will feature a capacity of around 1,000 metric tonnes per day.

In remarks to the Observer, Ahmed Akaak also underlined efforts by the port to develop localized cargo volumes. “We are also looking to grow our import and export volumes by looking at the potential to supply our hinterland, notably Yemen, and also by focusing on East Africa and rest of Subcontinent. Oman is definitely preparing to become a main hub for cargo shipping,” he said.

Port of Salalah handled around 722,000 TEUs of containers during the first quarter of this year, down eight per cent from the corresponding figure for Q1 2016. General cargo throughput dipped 3 per cent to 3.361 million tonnes in Q1 2017. Major commodities handled are namely limestone, gypsum, methanol and cement.

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