Muscat: Salalah Port has unveiled a detailed blueprint of plans to become a key national and regional economic hub, creating business opportunities, hundreds of jobs and diversifying the national economy over the next 20 years.
The vision includes a cruise terminal, new government dedicated berths for security forces plus a functional connection to the GCC rail link. It will also feature a multi-product and multi-user liquid terminal, logistics and multi-modal transport facilities, national food reserve silos, warehousing and distribution centres, food processing and distribution centres, agro products distribution centre and a large number of tourism facilities for cruise tourists.
The multi-product and multi-user liquid terminal, which will be a part of general cargo expansion, includes bunkering lube oil supply, de-slopping, garbage collection, fresh water supply, ship repair, crew and storage facilities.
Attractive for customers
Speaking to the Times of Oman, Ahmed Akaak, deputy chief executive officer, Salalah Port, said that the envisioned cruise terminal would also include restaurants and a local goods market that would be attractive for both sea and land customers alike.
"For this, Salalah Port is urging our partners to begin tendering the civil design and construction of the northern breakwater as soon as possible, as this project is vital to both the safety and security aspects of the port's container operations, as well as a huge added value for tourism development in Salalah. "There is no definite date yet for when it would start, but we expect it would take approximately three or three-and-a-half years to complete full construction," Ahmed added.
New projects to boost tourism
He also said that cruise passenger tourism is fast expanding in the GCC market with local examples in Khasab Port and neighbouring countries reflecting the trend.
"In Salalah, we already have a steady number of tourists arriving by sea, and an exponentially growing number of tourists visiting in Khareef and the winter season. So the envisioned cruise terminal would not act as a major attraction to pull visitors to Salalah, but rather a major attraction landmark for the hundreds of thousands who visit Salalah annually," he said.
The new terminal will have beautiful recreation areas and opportunities for small to medium businesses to develop, serving both local and international tourism markets.
"Combined with increasing integration with the freezone, the dedicated cruise terminal berth will be another important part of Salalah's future," a shipping agent in the country said.
This new infrastructure will also boost cruise tourism. "It will make tourism much more accessible and will be able to bring in more tourists from all over the world," the shipping agent added.
The port saw a slight increase in port calls in 2013.
A total of 34 cruise vessels visited the port in 2013 while 33 cruise vessels visited in 2012. Till April 2014, the port received 21 calls and handled 19,125 passengers.
Recently, the Salalah port also announced that it expects its general cargo terminal (GCT) expansion to be completed and a liquid jetty to be added by November 2014. "The GCT Liquid Jetty project is approximately 76 per cent completed," Salalah Port Services said in a disclosure statement.
Archirodon Construction (Overseas) Co. is building a general cargo terminal, along with a liquid jetty at the port as part of the expansion programme.
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