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Duqm port's berth contract to be awarded this year

Wednesday, 08 July 2015 | 00:00
A recently floated tender for the completion of a commercial berth in the Port of Duqm will be awarded by the end of the year, giving a major boost to the port’s capacity, said a senior official at the Port of Duqm Company (PDC).

“We want to award (the tender) in the second half of 2015, with the start of operation and construction generally in 2016,” ReggyVermeulen, chief executive officer of Port of Duqm Company, told ‘Times of Oman’ in an interview.

It will take around two years for the commercial package to be finished including the container, the multi-cargo terminal and the mineral terminal, the official said.

Capacity boost

The port is currently in the early stages of operation, Vermeulen said, adding, “Our maximum capacity today would be handling of 250,000 containers a year. That is today, but when fully finished after the realisation of the tender, it will be 3.5 million.”

The chief executive officer of PDC, which is a joint venture between the government of Oman and Consortium Antwerp Port (CAP) in Belgium, said that the intermodal connectivity in the Port of Antwerp can serve as a good model for the Port of Duqm. The Port of Antwerp is one of the largest ports in Europe.

Multi-industry hub

Vermeulen said that the Belgian port is a multi-industry hub where everything is taking place and there is access to airport, rail, inland waterway, coastal ships and road network.

Asked about Oman’s upcoming national railway which would run to Duqm, the official said the fact that things are being built from scratch in the Port of Duqm allows for strong and tight integration with the railway.

Railway expertise

“The first railway in Europe was in Belgium so we have the longest railway history in Europe and Belgian companies have built a lot of railways around the world,” he said.

“We have a lot of expertise. We are not yet on the ground in Oman, but it is a knowledge that we do use for the Duqm project and we hope to share later on with Oman Rail,” added Vermeulen.

Target companies

Commenting on target companies for investment in Oman, he said that apart from Belgium, PDC is seeking to attract investments from Oman’s classic trade partners such as the neighbouring countries, Far East countries, the United Kingdom and the United States. However, he said that the port focuses on all countries and does not necessary focus on a particular country.

Gas price

Asked whether the hike in gas prices would have any impact on industries in Duqm, Vermeulen said that for the moment it has no particular impact as the gas pipeline will reach Duqm when the refinery starts working in 2018 or 2019.

“However, it is a point of very high attention for our investors who require gas while they are negotiating with the government,” he noted. Asked if Duqm is considering cruise ship services, Vermeulen said that it is not a target in the short term.

“I think a port like Port Sultan Qaboosis perfect for cruise liners. For us, it is not an immediate target,” the chief executive officer of PDC concluded.
Source: Times Of Oman
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