Having been badly damaged by Cyclone Mekunu in 2018, the port of Salalah staged an impressive recovery in 2019. Container traffic levels rose to 4.109 million teu, representing a growth rate of 21% compared to the year before. Moreover, this was the Salalah Container Terminal’s highest yearly container throughput since 1998.
The port was successful in retaining all its container shipping line clients, while Maersk’s share of container traffic at the port jumped by 18%.
Volumes at Salalah’s General Cargo Terminal were steadier. The 16.278 million tons handled during 2019 was similar to 2018 levels. There was a sharp dip in volumes during the third quarter attributed to regional political tensions, but there was a strong rebound in the fourth quarter of the year. Increased ro-ro traffic from the Far East has been a particular highlight of the past year, the Port of Salalah says.
Prospects for bulk cargo shipments are rated positively, particularly for gypsum. However, the scope for growth is presently constrained by lack of space for dry bulk stockpiles. Enhanced ship loader performance is said to be vital in this context, increasing stockpile turnover and hence capacity.
Similarly, there is strong demand for the development of tank farm capacity at Salalah. This would require more land to be made available within the port but this is presently occupied by dry bulk stockpiles.