Salalah Container Terminal (SCT) experienced a sharp drop in throughput over the first three months of 2019, the Port of Salalah Board of Directors has revealed in its quarterly report. The terminal handled 917,000 teu in the three- month period, which was 12% lower than in the corresponding period in 2018. Productivity, as measured by berth moves per hour, was however up slightly at SCT.
The drop, in container activity, is attributed primarily to the impact of Cyclone Mekunu last year and the subsequent reduction in the terminal’s available capacity. The port says that the restoration of lost capacity is expected in the third quarter of 2019 with the completion of repairs and the delivery of replacement equipment.
Better fortunes have been experienced at Salalah’s General Cargo Terminal (GCT) which handled 4.32 million tons of dry bulk, liquid bulk and bagged cargoes during the quarter, an increase of 3% compared with the first three months of 2018. The main commodities moved at the terminal this year have been limestone, gypsum, methanol and cement, and which are exported to nearby markets.
Revenues generated by the GCT jumped by 23% in the first quarter compared with the same period of last year, while container terminal income was up by 3%. The latter includes revenues from containers moved across Berth 31 at the GCT, due to its temporary conversion to handle container cargoes.
Salalah Port chairman, Ahmed Bin Nasser Al Mahrizi, says that regional transhipment business, which is the backbone of the container terminal’s activities, remains stable. However, he points out that, with container lines still focussing on increasing the average size of vessels in their fleets, hubs like Salalah will have to invest to upgrade their capabilities to safely handle the larger type containerships.
General cargo prospects are viewed as ‘steady’. The company points out that the growth trajectory for aggregates exports has flattened out over the first quarter of the year, as a result of lower regional demand.