April 24 - Marking a new chapter in Oman's expanding maritime sector, the Port of Duqm has handled its first project cargo at its Commercial Quay.
Consisting of a pair of inlet separators destined for the Saih Nihayda Depletion Compression Project, the first consignment was discharged from a barge in a three-hour operation that underscored Duqm's emerging importance as a maritime gateway for the hydrocarbon and mineral rich Wusta governorate.
Chief executive officer, Port of Duqm Company, Peter Broers, said that the event was a major milestone for Port of Duqm. He said the smooth berthing of the barge and the discharge of its cargo was the culmination of the collective support and goodwill of all of the stakeholders, notably the Ministry of Transport and Communications and Oman Drydock Company, as well as the consultants and contractors involved in the development of this maritime hub on the Sultanate's south-eastern seaboard.
Broers said: "We are delighted to have accomplished this feat even though the Commercial Quay is still under construction with the paving and superstructure facilities yet to be completed. The success of this landmark operation will spur us in our quest to launch the 'early operations phase' before the end of this year.
"Last February, we were approached by Middle East Shipping & Transport Co LLC with a request for support in the delivery of two large pieces of project cargo destined for Petroleum Development Oman (PDO). After intensive consultations and deliberations with all the parties concerned, we decided to make this initiative a reality."
The port authority said that handling two outsized inlet separators each weighing 262 tonnes and measuring about 18.6 m in length was no easy task, especially in light of the incomplete state of the commercial quay. The equipment was shipped from Abu Dhabi on board a GAC barge, which was moored alongside the commercial quay with the aid of the tugboat Blenda. Once safely positioned at berth, the five-metre-high separators were rolled off on to special trailers for the onward journey to the central fields of Oman.
Significantly, with the successful handling of this shipment, Port of Duqm is set to position itself as a convenient, speedy and economical gateway through which project cargo, construction equipment, and mineral-based commodities can be shipped in and out of the Wusta region, says the port authority.
Project cargo destined for the central gas fields of Oman is typically shipped via Abu Dhabi and trucked to its destination - a practice usually hampered by the presence of bridges on route, as well as concerns over the robustness of the road network in handling such heavy cargo.