Oman Seaports – An Emerging Transshipment Hub?


Markaz recently published the executive summary of their infrastructure series covering: Power, Airports, Seaports, Roads & Railways, ICT and Water. In this research note, Markaz tackles Oman Seaports sector in terms of highlighting current position, growth drivers, and future investment areas.

Oman is situated at the entrance to the Gulf in the middle of the East-West trade routes, ensuring easy access to markets in the Middle East, Asia, Africa and Europe. Its position on the Arabian Sea, gives it easy access to major shipping routes and allows it to serve as a port and commercial center.

There are currently seven operating ports in Oman, and each has its own port authority and operator. Container traffic at major Oman ports registered a CAGR of 6% from 3 million Twenty Foot Equivalent Units (TEUs) in 2007 to more than 4 million TEU in 2011. The Salalah port alone accounted for 3.2 million TEU in 2011.

Source: Ministry of Transport & Communications, Port Websites, Markaz Research

Salalah, Sohar Port and Sultan Qaboos port are the major ports. Qalhat port and Mina Al Fahal are specialized ports used for the export of LNG and oil respectively. Oman has invited private sector participation in its ports through joint ventures. Most ports in Oman are managed / operated by companies which are joint ventures between the Omani government and the private partner.

The Government of Oman along with Port of Antwerp has formed a new company "Port of Al Duqm" in order to construct the "Duqm Port" which will include a free trade zone, ship repair dock and an industrial area. The port will initially handle 3.5 million TEU after the completion of phase I.

A new cargo terminal is being constructed at the Salalah port to increase capacity. The project is scheduled to be completed by 2015 and will increase the capacity by 20.5 million tonnes.

Oman government is taking various steps to diversify the economy and reduce its dependence on oil. The hydrocarbons exported during 2004 accounted for 81% of the total exports whereas they accounted only for 71% of the total exports in 2011. The government is also making efforts to ensure that private sector becomes the primary source of economic activity. Providing good physical infrastructure which includes building ports connected to industrial free trade zones is one primary focus area for the policy makers. There are two free trade zones in Oman near the Salalah and Sohar ports and an industrial estate around the Salalah port.

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Kuwait Financial Centre K.P.S.C “Markaz”, with total assets under management of over KD903 million (USD 3.2 billion) as of December 31, 2012, was established in 1974 has become one of the leading asset management and investment banking institutions in the Arabian Gulf Region. Markaz was listed on the Kuwait Stock Exchange (KSE) in 1997.