Container throughput at the Omani Port of Salalah, part of the APM Terminals Global Terminal Network, reached 1.584 million TEU in the first half of 2016, representing a 29% increase over volume handled during the same period a year earlier.
The surge was mainly attributed to an increase in capacity with the completion of a new deep-water General Cargo and Liquid Bulk Terminal in December 2015 as the facility handled around one million metric tons monthly.
Some of the container volume growth is the result of Salalah’s proximity to the open sea, and its ability to accommodate the largest of the Ultra Large Container Ships (ULCS) entering into the Asia/Europe trade lanes, according to APM Terminals. Around 90% of Salalah’s container traffic is transshipment cargo movement.
“The largest vessels regularly calling Salalah are about 16,000 TEU capacity vessels which are normally deployed in the Asia/Europe trade lane, for which port calls are decided based upon the sustained ability to handle ULCS performance levels,” Port of Salalah CEO, David Gledhill, said.
At present, the largest vessel calling Salalah is the MSC Zoe, which is also the biggest container ship currently in service worldwide, with a stated capacity of 19,224 TEUs.
“We are seeing a trend of deployment of these large vessels on major trade lanes and we expect to see more of these calls in the near future,” Gledhill added.
Around 30 container liner services call Salalah on a monthly basis, linking the Arabian Sea facility to all major ports in Europe, the Mediterranean, the US East Coast, East Africa, the Indian Sub-continent, the Red Sea and Arabian Gulf.
The general cargo facility is currently handling 200,000 metric tons (MT) of limestone and some 550,000 MT of Gypsum monthly, among other cargoes. The new berths are used for discharging grain, loading bagged cement, berthing of the multi-national navies engaged in anti-piracy operation, and for cruise vessels.
In 2015, Salalah’s volume reached 2.56 million TEUs. The facility also handled 7.9 million tons of bulk cargo in 2015.