"The Port of Duqm is entirely in the Special Economic Zone at Duqm, and this simplifies the Customs procedure."


A plan to boost the Port of Duqm’s efficiency

April 16, 2020

Reggy Vermeulen, CEO of the Port of Duqm, talks to The Energy Year about how the port is gearing up to handle key energy-industry cargo and its plans to boost efficiency in its operations. The Port of Duqm is being developed as an integrated, multimodal logistics hub with maritime links, a road network, an airport and a railway system.

How do you assess the attractiveness of Oman as an investment destination following the transition of power?
His Majesty Sultan Haitham made a statement in which he highlighted his vision for the economy. This is reassuring for investors. He also confirmed the country’s position of neutrality and the geopolitical role of Oman is not expected to change, which is very important. He is bringing confidence to investors because they know what is going to happen.

When do you expect to have phase one of the port’s construction finished?
I would say that in the summer of 2020, phase one of the Port of Duqm will be fully finished and handed over to the Port Authority. That is a major milestone in parallel with a lot that is going on with the construction of the Duqm Refinery, which is bringing in a lot of cargo via the port. We are also preparing for exporting the refined products. Overall, in terms of our volume of activities, we are growing 20% year-on-year.
Trans-shipment is something we are aiming for now. We have started to do some ship-to-ship business already towards India and the Upper Gulf. With the port being finished by the end of this year, we’ll definitely be able to gear up our volumes in trans-shipment. Africa and India are our two main destination markets.


How has the port performed in receiving large shipping loads?
The port was designed to welcome these extremely big project cargoes, so there hasn’t been any challenge so far. We aim to go even bigger than what we have already received. It’s a natural evolution. We started to receive oversize project cargoes in 2012, so we have been the port of entry for large cargo for a number of years.
A lot of the project cargo for Liwa Plastics entered through the Port of Duqm. We also received the blades and the wind turbines for the Rabab Harweel project. We are serving not only the Al Wusta region, but also the north and the south.

How do you assess the appetite of oil and gas companies to use the Port of Duqm as their supply reference point?
Like every port, you have to change the logistics value chain rather than convince the client or the producer. That is what we are doing. We are working with different freight forwarders to make them understand that they will also see many advantages by using the Port of Duqm. They will be the first ones saving on costs.

What is the Port of Duqm’s main advantage against its regional competitors?
The main advantage is the location. In Jebel Ali you have to enter the Gulf, so when serving the Indian and African markets, vessels must sail an additional two to three days, which is huge. For us, it’s ideal to serve these markets. We are working on continuing to facilitate these operations.
The Port of Duqm is entirely in the Special Economic Zone at Duqm, hence companies are not “entering Oman,” and this simplifies the Customs procedure. Local Customs understand the importance of trans-shipments. Salalah is mainly a trans-shipment hub and they are going to use the same procedure as is used there. We’re not expecting problems from bureaucracy.

What is the Port of Duqm doing to enhance efficiency within its operations?
We are working with the government to equip ourselves with hybrid vehicles, hybrid cranes and hybrid equipment. We are also investigating the possibility of doing a ship-to-shore connection, so we would connect the ship to the grid in order to help them shut down their engine while they are at port.

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