WASHINGTON: Port of Duqm has received the first containers from French shipping giant CMA CGM via the Oman Express Service operated by Oman Shipping Company through its subsidiary Oman Container Line. The containers, which were loaded with project equipment for Sebacic Oman SAOC, soon to become the world’s largest Sebacic Acid plant in Duqm, originated from China and were transshipped via another regional port.
Port of Duqm received the containers at its early container terminal, from where they will be delivered to Sebacic Oman’s site. A ceremony was organised at the port to celebrate this major event under the patronage of Said bin Hamdoon Al Harthy, undersecretary for Ports and Maritime Affairs at the Ministry of Transport and Communications, and other senior officials, by the major stakeholders. “The port’s container terminal is currently under construction and will be commissioned in the course of 2019. However, it is crucial for the early development of the entire Duqm Special Economic Zone, which includes the Port that the container activities already start earlier. This is why we have prepared a small preliminary container terminal at our commercial quay and entered into a strategic partnership with Oman Shipping Company to facilitate such early requirements. We are delighted that CMA CGM has registered Duqm as a new destination in its vast network and are confident that other shipping lines will follow soon, given the steep container volume increases we expect to be developed in and around Duqm in the years to come,” said Reggy Vermeulen, chief executive officer (CEO) at the Port of Duqm. CMA CGM was represented by Claude Lebel, senior vice president, Gulf Region, of the CMA CGM Group.
“Duqm is regarded as one of the most promising industrial and logistic developments in the Middle Eastern region. This is why it is very important for our group that we have Duqm on our radar even during this early stage. We expect to gradually grow our volumes for when the Duqm Container Terminal is commissioned in 2019. CMA CGM is shipping the future and shaping our presence in Oman,” said Lebel. “Oman Shipping launched the two-weekly Oman Express Feeder Service in 2016 to enhance Duqm’s connectivity to other regional ports and support the larger Duqm development. Till now, deliveries to Duqm were limited to larger project cargoes so we are extremely happy that we may expect regular container traffic from now onwards. Once these increased volumes are confirmed, we expect to be able to offer weekly services,” noted Tariq Al Junaidi, CEO of Oman Shipping Company.
“Funding Sebacic Oman as the first major project in Duqm was a challenge, but also a need to attract alternative investments to the entire special economic zone in Duqm. The early start-up of the Port Container Terminal and services offered by the Oman Express Feeder Service will support Sebacic Oman in achieving their target time line. Also, it will build up confidence in forthcoming projects to Duqm,” said Sulaiman Al Harthy, deputy CEO of Meethaq Islamic Banking at Bank Muscat. “Being the first largest private industrial project in the Duqm industrial zone, promoted by Hilal Bin Khalid Al Maawali, we are happy that this new service will allow us to import containers via sea, which will reduce cargo movement over Oman’s roads substantially: this will be much safer and more cost efficient. Our plant shall be operational by end 2017; we will generate substantial containerised volumes, which can also be handled via the same logistic partners,” added Pradeep Nair, CEO of Sebacic Oman.