The buzz is all about the Port of Duqm, the new economic engine of the Sultanate of Oman, progressively emerging as the neo hub and hive of economic activity thanks to its central location, deep-sea natural port and easy access to a mineral and resource-rich hinterland.
The Port of Duqm Company is a joint venture between the Government of Oman and Consortium Port of Antwerp.
Port of Duqm lies at the heart of the specifically designated Special Economic Zone of Duqm (SEZD), a greenfield project which is the new center of economic gravity and a special focus region for investment and trade, commerce and infrastructure development in the Sultanate of Oman.
The strategically located Port of Duqm is taking shape in its rapidly developing hinterland with the services offered at its early operation multi-purpose terminal for containers, break bulk, heavy-lift cargo for mega projects, dry bulk, and RoRo.
Anchorage at the Port
The Port of Duqm is a haven for ships berthing off the coast whilst waiting for their turn to discharge of cargo. The port offers facilities for freighters to lower anchor and then unload cargo using skilled resources particularly for over-dimensional and odd-sized cargo.
One of the biggest semi-submersible vessels with a capacity of 98,000 DWT recently arrived at the Port of Duqm to perform a heavy-lift discharge operation of two massive rigs transported on board. The weight of each rig was an astounding 45,000 MT DWT. This successful anchorage at the Port of Duqm Company (PDC) is a standout for its abilities and capabilities to manage such specialized heavy-lift cargo.
With many big-ticket and massive infrastructure and development projects in construction, energy and utilities ongoing in the Sultanate of Oman, PDC foresees many more such heavy-lift operations for similar rigs which will position Port of Duqm amongst one of the most preferred ports across the globe performing such massive operation.
The bunkering service agreement with Oman Oil Marketing and Shell Oman enable the bunkering terminal to provide different grades of quality fuels and lubricants as well as other ancillary facilities to marine liners calling at Port of Duqm.
With new global bunker regulations coming into effect from 2020, the Port of Duqm has a clear ambition to become a future bunker hub serving in the entire region. This vision is boosted by its advantageous and convenient location as well as the availability of the right fuel specs and ability to offer prime bunker services.
Given its close closeness to the major oil & gas and mining projects in Oman, the Port of Duqm is seeking to radically increase its activity levels in the foreseeable future. The Port of Duqm is committed to provide an extensive support and service to Shell Oman’s downstream business operation in the Sultanate of Oman and to live up to its stated goal to be the most preferred Port in the region.
With these multiple services and capabilities coupled with excellent hinterland connectivity, it is abundantly clear that the Port of Duqm is steadily steaming towards a coveted position as the premier port for heavy, break-bulk and industrial cargo in the region.
Terminal operator for over-dimension cargo
The Port of Duqm is becoming the country’s preferred port of call for over-dimensional cargoes. Its efficient operational force offers a range of multiple, sophisticated, extensive port-handling services for the shipping industry. As a case in point, the Port has competently accomplished a project cargo discharge operation to facilitate the under-construction Harweel Wind Power Project, one of Sultanate’s key infrastructure projects.
Port of Duqm facilitated the arrival of 39 Rotor Blades and Towers for the wind turbines. A major operation to offload and settle 65-meter-long (each) Rotor Blades and 83-meter (each) Tower was well accomplished during the last quarter of 2018.
When completed, this 50MW Wind Power Project will be the country’s first wind farm and will provide a major contribution to the Sultanate’s position as a clean energy leader in the region.
This Wind Farm is a joint venture project of the Abu Dhabi Future Energy Company (Masdar) and Rural Areas Electricity Company (RAECO) and is located 556km from Port of Duqm at Harweel in the Southern Dhofar Governorate covering a total area of 200,000 square meters. It is the first project of its kind in the Gulf region and will offset 110,000 tons of carbon dioxide emissions and will electrify an estimated 16,000 homes in the region.
For the Port of Duqm the successful and timely delivery of the rotor blades and towers consignment marks an important milestone in supporting the comprehensive logistics of heavy-lift cargo associated with this project.
Structural break-bulk cargo
Oil Country Tubular Goods (OCTG) pipes, comprising seamlessly rolled pipes replete with casing and tubing used extensively for the oil and drilling industries, is the first structural break-bulk cargo eminently suitable for and naturally attracted to the Port of Duqm.
With its unique, convenient location and cast-iron reputation as the ‘one stop shop’ Port equipped with the know-how and proficiency for unloading operations of this nature, the Port of Duqm is considered the entrepôt for the entire OCTG supply business for the entire country. Given its central location midways along the country’s coastline and its nearness to the oil and gas concession and exploratory areas, the Port of Duqm has been groomed and developed to facilitate functions of the kind shippers and logistics services providers undertake to provide.
Large storage and warehousing facilities at the Port of Duqm close to eliminate the need for intermediate and inland stock points and this in turn has economical implications. Consequently, there have been immense cost savings for consignees and consignors for multiple reasons including reduction in inland transport costs; reduction in handling and storage costs due to just-in-time deliveries; cost reduction due to rig returns and repairs; decrease in warehousing costs as no intermediate inland storage is required. It is estimated that the overall cost savings to the industry will exceed US$ 80 million within the next three years.
OCTG volumes are on the upswing and are expected to reach 200,000 MT annually. On an average 5 to 6 vessels arrive every month mainly from China, India, Japan and Brazil in South America. Incidentally, this is also spawning thriving ancillary businesses for repairs, GRE (Glass Reinforced Epoxy) anti-corrosive lining, external coating, threading, slotting and more.
The Port of Duqm is becoming the new hub for break-bulk business and for ship owners it opens new avenues to harness these vessels for other businesses thereby facilitating imports for alternative cargo streams as well. Port of Duqm’s vision “to be the most preferred multi-purpose port in the region” is gradually shaping up.”
Oommen John P is the Deputy Editor for OGR & Dossier and Associate Editor for OER. A journalist since 1994, John has worked for newspapers and business magazines in India and Oman. He joined UMS in January 2014, where his work profile includes writing about the economy and banking, oil and gas sector, auto reviews on prominent brands besides features and articles on travel.