Muscat: State-owned Oman Shipping Company (OSC) is planning to start a container feeder service connecting Salalah, Duqm, Sohar and Jebel Ali ports next month, said a top-level official of OSC.
The company’s multi-purpose vessel, which can carry both containers and general cargo, will be used for the proposed route. The ship can carry about 350 containers or project cargo worth 8,000 tonnes.
“There is going to be a lot of development there (in Duqm). So, there will be a demand for equipment, project cargoes, supplies for construction projects and container services,” Tarik Mohamed Al Junaidi, chief executive officer of Oman Shipping Company told ‘Times of Oman’ in an exclusive interview. “We are discussing with port authorities of Duqm and Salalah (and other government authorities).”
Al Junaidi said that Oman Shipping already operates a feeder service connecting Sohar with Jebel Ali port, which is a weekly service. Within one or two months of starting the new service, Oman Shipping will be able to evaluate the actual requirement and can change the vessel, if required.
Oman Shipping, which plans to strengthen its fleet strength to 53 vessels within this year, is looking at opportunities in Duqm to provide ships for the proposed Duqm Refinery, which is likely to be ready by 2019.
Al Junaidi said Oman Ship Management Company, which is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Oman Shipping Company, manages 32 of the parent company’s vessels. “Our intention in the long-run is to have all of them managed by Oman Ship Management Company.”
Referring to focus on Omanisation, Al Junaidi said the company will have its first Omani captain by this year. Oman Shipping has signed a two-year agreement with International Maritime College Oman (Imco) to take about 100 students a year from the college.
Oman Shipping has a mix of high-tech fleet spanning a diverse range of very large crude carriers (VLCCs), LNG carriers, product tankers, multi-purpose vessels, bulk carriers and container ships. Starting with LNG transportation, Oman Shipping’s expansion was very fast-paced and broad-based to cater to the needs of Oman’s oil and gas, petrochemical and other industries.