Logistics

SCI chooses Oman's Salalah Port as transhipment hub

PTI | Updated on March 12, 2018

Shipping Corporation of India (SCI) recently made its maiden call on the Port of Salalah, further underscoring the maritime gateway's reputation as the regional transhipment hub of choice for an increasing number of global carriers. According to a recent report, SCI is the latest addition to a growing list of prominent main-liners that have decided to use Salalah as a hub port in the region.

These include Maersk Line, Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC), APL, CMA-CGM and MOL, among others, an Oman Daily Observer report said.

SCI operates a diverse fleet of around 83 ships with an aggregate tonnage of 4.6 million DWT. The government-owned, Mumbai-headquartered shipping company has interests in various segments of the shipping trade, including container vessels, bulk carriers, crude oil tankers, product tankers, passenger vessels, chemical carriers, LPG/ammonia carriers and offshore supply vessels.

Common feeder service

“It's another feather in our cap. Clearly, SCI is a valued customer that connects us to a massive market — India,” Peter Ford, the Chief Executive Officer of Port of Salalah, said. According to him, the port is talking to a host of other companies to create more opportunities for investors and for Omani businesses to connect to the world.

“One of those areas for opportunity is this effort we are doing with Oman Shipping Company (OSC) — to start a common feeder service out of Salalah which will be key to attracting other shipping lines,” he said.

Port of Salalah has already snagged some of the world's biggest shipping lines, including the first, second and fourth-ranked global carriers, the report said. According to Mr Ford, discussions are underway with other carriers in the hopes of drawing them to Salalah. The Port of Salalah recently announced the maiden call of a giant container ship operated by CompaSud Americana de Vapores (CSAV), marking the start of transhipment services from Salalah by the Chile-based global shipping line.

Growth potential

Mr Ford said SCI's decision to choose Salalah as its regional hub holds significant promise in this regard.

“India is a significantly sized market. I think the growth potential is here, but the question is really how much will the local market use (this potential) versus just the transhipment aspect,” he said, adding that transhipment cargo is all well and good, but they are interested in how these connections generate business for Oman and for Omani businesses. Transhipment containers currently account for 98 per cent of cargo throughput recorded at the Salalah Port's Container Terminal, which peaked at 3.5 million twenty foot equivalent units (TEUs) last year. The remaining 2 per cent is linked to volumes generated by local industries and businesses.

“What I can see in the foreseeable future is an increase to 10 per cent. So, 350,000 or 400,000 or 500,000 TEUs is entirely doable with a successful free zone and with a good product serving the Muscat market, the Yemen market through the Mazyouna Free Trade Zone and hopefully the Saudi market if they build a road,” Mr Ford said.



Published on October 09, 2011

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