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Published: 7 March 2017      

Salalah posts strong growth

In 2016, Oman’s largest port Salalah posted an impressive 25% surge in its container traffic, with 3.3M TEU handled.

2016 marked a strong recovery on 2015’s trading performance when container throughput declined by 15% on the previous year. In contrast the port’s general cargo business, which has been growing exponentially over the past several years thanks to the burgeoning trade in aggregates, posted only a modest 3.9% rise on the previous year. The total 13Mt handled compared with 12.5Mt in 2015.

The improved trading performance resulted in revenues at Salalah Port Services (SLS) climbing almost 11% to US$142.7M ($128.7M in 2015) and profits edging up 9.6% to US$14.8M.

Ahmed Bin Nasser Al Mahrizi, chairman of the board of directors at SLS, is cautiously optimistic about the future. He referred to ocean carriers “as capitalising on those ports posting higher operating performances and of establishing longer term operating agreements with them”.

The chairman is keen to expand Salalah’s operating capacity from a current level of 5M TEU a year to 7.5M TEU a year but stressed that new cargo streams were needed. Al Mahrizi said: “There is a need for Salalah to develop more gateway cargo as an essential priority and as a means of anchoring new and additional business to the port.”

Maersk Line, MSC and CMA CGM are all customers of Salalah and all three lines mainly use the port as a regional transhipment hub. In fact well over 95% of containers handled are either hub and spoke or interline (transferred between mainline ships) in nature.


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