The Port of Salalah handled 1.94M TEU and 8.2Mt of general cargo in H1 2019, up 10% and 8% respectively year-on-year
As well as handling a 10% increase in container traffic, in early July, the Omani port set an all-time productivity record, processing 3,820 container moves to/from the vessel CAP SAN TAINARO (9,600 TEU) in just 9.25 hours.
The strong numbers partly reflect Salalah Port Services (SPS) ongoing investment in the port with over US$30M spent on acquiring and phasing in new cargo handling equipment in the past 12 months. This included four RTGs cranes, 214 terminal tractors, 29 forklift trucks and 28 spreaders for use in the container terminal and various ship loaders and multipurpose cranes for the port’s dry bulk and general cargo business.
In part, some of this equipment comprised replacement units for machinery damaged by cyclone Mekunu in early 2018 and the need to restore the port’s handling capacity of approximately 5M TEU a year. But as Mark Hardiman, CEO, SPS, stressed the investment programme was an integral part of APM Terminals (APMT) Hub Excellence Programme which seeks to raise safety standards and improve efficiency across its ports. APMT owns 30% of SPS.
The executive elaborated: “Our customer-centric approach and the commitment of our employees has been the key to our continued success. We continue to place a very high emphasis on safety and focus on continuously improving our processes to deliver world class productivity.”
Hardiman stressed that this was even more important in a region like the Middle East/Indian Ocean where Salalah competes against other hubs, such as Jebel Ali, Khalifa, Sohar and Jeddah. “In the competitive environment of the transhipment business, delivering these levels of performance enhances the overall value proposition of Salalah to the shipping line in terms of network cost savings and reliability.”
He said that investment in Salalah was continuing as SPS sought to reduce equipment downtimes further and improve levels of operational consistency.