28/09/2017 07:08 AST

Oman’s state-owned shipping company plans to acquire two container vessels to replace its current chartered ships.

Oman Shipping Company (OSC) is looking for second-hand vessels, each with a capacity of 3,000 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs), Tarik Mohammed Al Junaidi, chief executive officer of Oman Shipping Company, told the Times of Oman in an exclusive interview.

“Each vessel is expected to cost around $10 million (in the second-hand market). We are looking for second-hand vessels,” he added.

OSC has a liner vessel (Gulf Express), which is operated between Sohar and Jebel Ali, and touches the Khorfakkan and Sharjah ports. Another container shipping service (Oman Express) connects Jebel Ali, Sohar, Duqm and Salalah and goes back to Jebel Ali.

Al Junaidi said this is a good time to acquire vessels from the second-hand market since it would be really cheap. The utilisation of container services between Jebel Ali and Sohar is almost 100 per cent. The current vessel, which is operated in this sector, has a capacity of 2,500 TEUs.

The OSC chief added that business is picking up now. “Recently, main line operators, such as CMA CGM and Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC) are sending their containers from Sohar to Duqm.

The Gulf Express service was started in April last year, using a multi-purpose chartered vessel, which can carry 400 TEUs and project cargoes. “We may change it to a fully containerised vessel.”

Al Junaidi further said OSC has formed a separate chartering operations desk for Very Large Crude Carriers (VLCCs). “It gives us visibility in the market.” These vessels were commercially operated by a third party earlier.

Further, Oman Shipping has signed a three-year agreement with the Shell group, whereby the former will provide transportation for Shell’s crude around the world. “We have agreed with them that a certain amount of cargo will be transported in our vessels, which gives us good utilisation of vessels,” added the OSC chief.

Oman Shipping Company has a fleet of 51 vessels, which have a combined capacity of 8 million deadweight tonnes (DWT) now.

Oman Ship Management Company, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Oman Shipping Company, manages 39 vessels of the parent company at present. These are a mix of high-tech fleet spanning a diverse range of VLCCs, LNG carriers, product tankers, multi-purpose vessels, very large ore carriers and container ships.

Starting with LNG transportation, Oman Shipping’s expansion was very fast-paced and broad-based and aimed to cater to the needs of Oman’s oil and gas, petrochemical and other industries.

Times of Oman

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