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Duqm-Jebel Ali feeder service to start by year-end

Monday, 06 July 2015 | 07:11
feeder container shipping service planned between Jebel Ali and Duqm will start by the end of the year, said a senior official at the Port of Duqm Company (PDC).

“There have been some delays due to identification of the ships, identification of the cargo. Now it is going back on track,” ReggyVermeulen, chief executive officer of Port of Duqm Company, told ‘Times of Oman’ in an interview.

“I am confident that before the end of this year, it will be operational. So we are still targeting 2015,” said the official.

Vermeulen said that the Port of Duqm decided to start operation before the entire infrastructure is completed as it wanted to contribute to the country’s economy as soon as possible and also due to the fact that the mega project takes a long time to complete.

Keeping balance

He believes that the port has so far managed well to strike the balance and is confident that it will succeed over the next two years, which will be a hectic period for the port.

Asked about the cargos received by the Port of Duqm, Vermeulen said that the port has received nearly 1 per 15 days, including oil rigs, minerals, steel and machinery.

While Sohar has become a major hub for heavy industry and Salalah is more known as a transshipment hub,the chief executive officer of PDC says that oil and gas will be a main focus of the Port of Duqm in the short term.

It is true that Sohar and Salalah ports have a clear designated activity but Duqm is different in terms of the size and will be the largest port in Oman when fully finished. “So in theory, we are capable of doing anything because we have the space, capability and the expertise,” he said.

Oil and gas

However, the port will definitely be extremely active in the field of oil and gas for the short term as 70 per cent of the oil and gas fields are in the range of 300 kilometres from the Port of Duqm, said Vermeulen.

Logistics is another area where the PDC, which is a 50:50 joint venture between the government of Oman and the Consortium Antwerp Port, will be focusing on in the coming years. “Belgium is known for being a logistics hub in Europe, and this is therefore an expertise that we have and are very proud to use here,” said Vermeulen.

Complementary roles

The official added that the three ports are trying to define their role in Oman Vision 2040, which aspires to transform the country into a major regional hub, but they actually complement each other. “We are all owned by the government of Oman,” he said, adding, “We do not want to cannibalise each other. We do not want to start a competition with each other. We want to compete with the rest of the world.”

Economic diversification

Vermeulen explained that apart from the oil and gas sector, which is still a significant source of income for the country, the port is seeking to contribute to the efforts to diversify the economy. “We are targeting everything. Everything eventually has to happen in Duqm, including health, education, housing, industry and manufacturing,” he noted.

Asked about contribution to job creation in Oman, the CEO said, “We are the only port today that has 94 per cent Omanisation rate.”
Source: Times of Oman
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