Hong Kong-based Hutchison Ports has indicated that ports in the Middle East and African region will represent an important part of its growth strategy. The global terminal operator currently has facilities in Pakistan, Oman, Ajman, Saudi Arabia and Tanzania in East Africa, managing 18 container berths and eight general cargo or ro-ro berths, and is committing a significant amount of investment to strengthen this portfolio. The group has also recently confirmed that it is continuing to look for opportunities to expand in the region.
Hutchison Ports Pakistan is one of two terminals operated in Karachi, the other being Hutchison Ports KICT. The newest terminal, Hutchison Ports Pakistan, which opened in 2017, is located in a natural deep water harbour and has advanced IT systems that optimise efficiency of labour, manage yard space and the deployment of equipment.
Another jewel in the Hutchison Ports’ crown is Hutchison Ports Dammam, where the company is planning for a major upgrade to redevelop part of the existing 2,400m quay wall. Two new 450m long mega containership berths will include the latest remote-control quayside container cranes that will have a maximum outreach capable of servicing vessels in the 20,000 teu class or above. Partial container handling automation in the connecting yard area is planned as well.
There has also been investment recently for Hutchison Ports Sohar in Oman. The completion of Terminal C in June 2016 boosted the port’s capacity to 1.5 million teu. New quayside cranes have been delivered and Hutchison Ports has invested heavily in yard equipment, such as RTGs, to further increase efficiency in the stacking areas. Terminal C now includes an Operations Control Centre that acts as the command centre for Hutchison Ports’ entire set-up at Sohar, allowing the remote-control operation of the new quayside cranes that have sufficient reach to load and unload 20,000 teu class vessels.
Hutchison Ports has revealed that construction of Terminal D, opposite Terminal C, is scheduled to start in 2019. This will have a 1,780m quay and 98 hectare yard area. When completed, this new terminal will bring Hutchison Ports Sohar’s total capacity to 6 million teu.