Sea cargo traffic on the rise in the Middle East
Activity was brisk at the ports in the UAE, reported the Khaleej Times, with Dubai expecting to reach a throughput of more than three million TEUs (20-feet equivalent units).
The port of Khorfakkan was expecting a growth rate of around 12 percent in its container business to 1.1 million TEUs, Fujairah forecast 60,000 TEUs, Abu Dhabi's Mina Zayed estimate that 330,000 TEUs were likely to be achieved for the whole year.
With the growth of the regional transshipment market, which is projected to hit eight million TEUs by 2015, the competition between regional ports becomes fiercer. The Yemeni port of Aden and the Omani port of Salalah are expected to win trade from the Middle East's existing hubs.
Salalah currently handles an average of 17 mainline and feeder vessel calls a week, mostly including Maersk-Sealand vessels. In fact, Salalah is closing in on its larger competitor, Jebel Ali. SPS, a company 30 percent owned by Maersk-Sealand, plans to raise its cargo handling capacity to 3.5 million TEUs by 2003, more than twice the current level.
In 2003, two new container ship berths will be completed at Salalah, bringing the total number to six. Massive new cranes are being installed, which are capable of loading and unloading 12,000-TEU ships. A fourth berth is to be commissioned early this year.
By the end of 2000, the annual volume of Salalah was expected to reach 1.2 million TEU. The real strength of the port is its box transshipment trade, involving ship-to-ship transfers. It allows ports to count each container twice, once when a box is unloaded from an incoming vessel and again when it is reloaded on to another ship for its onward journey.
The regional transshipment market continues to grow. Sources say that the region's ports handle roughly 13 million TEUs per year of containerized cargo, 4.3 million TEUs is transshipment traffic. ¯ (Albawaba-MEBG)
© 2001 Mena Report (www.menareport.com)