Muscat: The next three years will be a crucial period for the Port of Duqm in view of the hectic activities in progress to complete the final development work at the port for commencing fully-fledged operations.
“The years 2016, 2017 and 2018 will be crucial years for the Port of Duqm because the government has started awarding the last construction packages for completing the work,” ReggyVermeulan, chief executive officer (CEO) of the Port of Duqm, told the Times of Oman.The port has commenced its ‘early operations’ phase a few years ago.
It appears that a package for the customs department, police buildings and main gates has been awarded. Also, another package for creating utilities for electricity, water and platform buildings are also in the final stage of evaluation. All these construction works will help the port’s final container terminal, which will have a capacity of 3.5 million TEUs (ten equivalent units) after completion of all work.
Another major project is to build a mega liquid terminal (which includes dredging work) and is also expected to be awarded this year. Yet another major work is for creating a berth for government agencies, including the Royal Oman Police and Navy.
“We will see a massive construction phase during the next three years,” added Vermeulan.
The Port of Duqm authorities had said earlier that they would start exporting minerals for the first time next month. The port has already set up facilities for an early operation of its break bulk terminal for exporting 50,000 tonnes of dolomite as the first shipment from the port.
Vermeulan said the terminal has the capacity to handle five million tonnes during the first phase, which can be scaled up substantially in the future. This will also help in the diversification strategy of the government and reduce the heavy dependence on oil revenue.
He added that the port is currently working with Oman Railways to substantially enhance mineral exports by transporting products from far off places and storing it near the port. In fact, a freight corridor is to be developed to connect the Port of Duqm to large regional markets, in a bid to increase the volumes of mineral, container and project cargo shipments.
The Port of Duqm’s chief said Oman has a variety of minerals and some of them can be considered as finished products, which can be directly exported without processing.
The mining companies, which have concession areas in Oman, will use the port’s break bulk terminal for exporting their minerals, including limestone, to several countries, especially to India.
The container terminal can handle 200,000 TEUs a year at the moment, which will be enhanced substantially to 3.5 million TEUs per annum. The port, which is planning a feeder service connectivity with Dubai’s Jebel Ali,also plans to connect with other major Omani ports, including Sohar and Salalah.
The 300-metre dedicated break bulk terminal is the last part of a 2.2 kilometre-long commercial quay, which is equipped to export minerals. The commercial quay is divided into three main areas—300 metres of cargo terminal, a 1.6-kilometre long container terminal and 300 metres for a break bulk terminal.