Salalah Port Posts Losses in First Operational Year
The Omani port of Salalah posted losses of more than five million dollars in 1999, its first operational year, after taking into account start-up costs, Salalah Port Services Co. said Wednesday.
The company reported total revenues of 7.141 million rials (18.4 million dollars) and operating costs of 7.087 million rials (18.2 million dollars), while start-up expenses stood at 2.157 million rials (5.7 million dollars).
The 2.103 million rial (5.4 million dollar) loss was "attributable to the fact that the company was able to operate with the full complement of (six) quay cranes for only half the year, rather than the full year", it said.
The company added that it had incurred extra personnel costs after switching from a two to a three-shift system to deal with the "excessive volume build-up in the second half of the year."
The southern Omani port on the Indian Ocean handled some 649,000 twenty-foot equivalent units of containers, of which 470,000 were in the second six months of the year.
The port, opened in November 1998 as a free trade zone, has four berths capable of handling a total of between six and eight mother vessels a day. It aims to become a trade center on the Europe-Asia shipping lanes, in competition with Dubai in the Emirates.
At present, only two berths are operational, while one is due to be equipped in the second half of 2000 and the other in the second quarter of 2001.
Salalah Ports Services -- owned 20 percent by the government, 30 percent by Maersk Sea Land, 19 percent by private Omani firms, 11 percent by pension funds and 20 percent by the public -- holds a 30-year concession on the 258 million dollar facility -- MUSCAT (AFP).
© 2000 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)