Oman Shipping Report Q2 2012

Business Monitor International
March 13, 2012
132 Pages - SKU: BMI3809435
Countries covered: Oman

Oman continues to develop itself into a regional powerhouse for the shipping and transhipment of dry bulk goods such as iron ore.

The latest development is the announcement that a new port is to be constructed at Duqm.

Further port developments include the announcement that all cargo operations are to be moved from the Muscat port of Sultan Qaboos to Sohar by the end of 2012.

All of this is aided by Oman's position on the Arabian Sea, outside the Persian Gulf, enabling it to offer shorter shipping lines than ports within the congested body of water.

This has led BMI to forecast particularly strong growth at the Port of Sohar in 2012.

This will be supported by the promotion of the port by container shipping companies.

Headline Industry Data ..

2012 container throughput at Salalah forecast to reach 4.01mn twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) on growth of 4.2%, and to average 1.8% to 2016.

.. 2012 total tonnage throughput at Sohar forecast to reach 13.81mn tonnes, a year-on-year (y-o-y) growth of 13.6%.

Growth forecast to average 15.7% over the mid term, boosted by the transfer of Sultan Qaboos' cargo operations to the facility.

.. 2012 Oman total trade real forecast at 6.0%, and to average 2.5% per annum to 2015.

Key Industry Trends New Omani Port Of Duqm To Support Oman's Role As Dry Bulk Hub BMI believes that Oman will further establish itself as a global hub for dry bulk shipping in 2012 with the development of its new Port of Duqm, the centrepiece of the under-development Duqm Special Economic Zone (SEZ).

The port is being developed as a 50:50 joint venture (JV) between the Omani government and the Consortium Port Antwerp, supported by the Port of Antwerp, one of Europe's largest ports.

The JV has a 28-year concession to co-invest and manage the facility, a massive project that will service petrochemicals, minerals and containers.

APL Increases Sohar Connections To Capitalise On Expected Growth BMI believes that the Omani Port of Sohar will see strong growth in 2012 as it continues to develop its international custom since its 2007 inauguration.

The port's potential as a transhipment hub will see the facility outpace our forecast for Omani trade growth.

Singapore-based container line APL, part of the Neptune Orient Lines Group (NOL), has recognised this and recently unveiled a new service stopping at Sohar and added the facility to an existing route.

Temporary Terminal To Begin Operations At Sohar BMI believes that a new terminal being established at the Port of Sohar is part of the port's drive to establish itself as a dry bulk hub for the region, and offers upside risk to our throughput forecasts for the facility.

December 15 2011 saw the start of operations at the new Sohar Bulk Terminal, despite the fact that the terminal building itself has not yet been built.

A temporary site has been erected while the permanent building is constructed.

Key Risks To Outlook On the downside we stress that for the foreseeable future, Oman's economy will remain highly reliant on oil revenues.

We caution that should prices record a more pronounced drop before the economy has been adequately diversified away from the energy sector, our positive outlook might prove overly optimistic.

Additionally, the autocratic nature of the political regime in Oman (and elsewhere in the Gulf) will ensure that risks of an uptick in protest activity by pro-democracy demonstrators will remain elevated, which would generate uncertainty and in turn deter investors away from the market.

However, should political violence spread in the Gulf region it could also provide upside risk to Oman - so long as it does not affect the country itself - as it sits outside the Straits of Hormuz and could provide an attractive option for companies unwilling to pass through the Bab al-Mandab.

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