Management at Omans Port of Salalah predicts boom in Middle Easts shipping industry

Travel News Asia 30 August 2004

Management at Omans Port of Salalah is predicting a boom in the Middle East's shipping industry over the next decade.

Both port management and authority have invested US$ 249 million in two new berths and a 2.5 km breakwater that will be completed early in 2006. In June, the port also won a two year management contract for Jordans Red Sea Aqaba Container Terminal.

Since the end of the war in Iraq, business at Aqaba has grown steadily as reconstruction and aid materials transit through the port. Tonnage in the first four months of the year is up 28 per cent on 2003 at 6.5 million tons.

Jack Helton, Chief Executive Officer and General Manager of Salalah Port, said: We are looking at strong growth across the Gulf, Red Sea, East Africa and the Indian Subcontinent. Over the next ten years we will see more container traffic, larger vessels, more cruise vessels and the emergence of more free zones.

The shipping industry globally, and particularly in the Middle East, is booming and we expect that to continue for some time to come.

The Port of Salalah will be promoting its services and those of its Aqaba operation to the regions shipping industry at Seatrade Middle East Maritime, which will run from December 6 8 at the Dubai World Trade Centre.

Helton added: We are going through a period of rapid expansion and we want the industry to be fully informed about what we offer. Since taking over the management of Aqaba Container Terminal, Iraqi cargo has become very important to us.

Seatrade has attracted exhibitors from 19 countries so far and growth in the Middle East shipping industry has created increased demand for the regions leading maritime industry event.

Chris Hayman, Managing Director, Seatrade, said: All the major regional ports are benefiting from the upturn in business and last year saw an increase in tonnage over 2002 despite the disruption to the industry caused by the Iraqi conflict.

Every aspect of the regions maritime industry from ports, to suppliers and insurance, are seeing growth and that has increased support for Seatrade Middle East Maritime 2004 which will be three times the size of last year.

As well as the exhibition, Seatrade will feature four distinct conference streams General Shipping, the Dubai Commodities Conference (organised in association with Dubai Metals & Commodities Centre), the fourth Seatrade Middle East Cruise Conference, and a one-day conference on the expanding SuperYacht market in the region.

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