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Salalah Port records 18% jump in general cargo throughput

Saturday, 18 November 2023 | 01:00

Port of Salalah, Oman’s leading transshipment and logistics hub overlooking the Indian Ocean, has reported a significant 18.3% increase in bulk cargo volumes handled at the General Cargo Terminal during the first nine months of 2023, underscoring the maritime gateway’s pivotal importance as an export hub for minerals and petrochemicals, among other commodities.

According to Braik Musallam al Amri, Chairman, Board of Directors – Salalah Port Services Co, the publicly traded company that owns and operates the gateway, general cargo throughput soared to 15.817 million tonnes during the Jan – Sep 2023 period, up from 13.373 million tonnes a year earlier.

“The major commodities handled are limestone, gypsum, methanol, and cement, which are exported from Salalah to nearby markets, and continue to drive the general cargo business,” he stated in the Directors’ Report for the period ended September 30, 2023.

With this uptick in general cargo throughput volumes, Port of Salalah is well on track to achieving its ambitious target of reaching 20 million tonnes by the end of the year, representing a 10% increase over corresponding figure for 2022.

According to Al Amri, the performance of the General Cargo Terminal “continues to be strong, driven by dry and wet bulk segments” – this despite a seasonal slowdown in the third quarter attributable to operational restrictions linked to the khareef weather in Salalah.

“While the months of July and August were marginally below targets, the gap was bridged by the pickup in the month of September, resulting in an overall +8% against target Year to date and +16% growth over the same period in 2022. The outlook for Q4 remains strong on the dry bulk and liquid bulk segment which are the key drivers for the performance on the General Cargo side,” he stated.

Cargo throughput at the Container Terminal however dipped 13.4% to 2.911 million TEUs (Twenty-foot Equivalent Units) during Jan – Sep 2023, as against 3.365 million TEUs for the corresponding period of 2022.
The decline was mainly attributed to the ongoing upgrade of the Container Terminal – a $66 million project designed to support the installation of a fleet of 10 special cranes to enable the handling of a new generation of Ultra Large Container Vessels (ULCVs) at the port.

The cranes will be leased from APM Terminals, one of the world’s largest port operating companies, which also owns a 30 per cent stake in Salalah Port Services (SPS).

Upon the completion of the upgrade in Q1 2025, global shipping and logistics giant Maersk has committed to channeling large volumes of containers to Salalah Port by routing its mega containerships via the Omani hub. A mega containership is typically 366 metres long and capable of carrying over 14,500 containers.

Also during the third quarter, import-laden container volumes increased 15% at the port, indicating a strong demand for imported goods, said the Chairman. Export volumes, on the other hand, dipped 4% due to lower demand for manufactured goods, he added.
Source: Oman Daily Observer

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