Salalah’s container terminal handled a record breaking volume of 4.34 million TEU, 6% more than the 4.11 million TEU achieved in 2019. The company retained all of its major customers, while leading client Maersk’s contribution to the business remained consistent throughout the year.
The port’s general cargo terminals handled 15.296 million tons during 2020 compared to 16.28 million in 2019, which represented a drop of 6%, mainly due to lower demand in export markets for gypsum and limestone. A statement by the port said:” The strong container performance of 2020 is expected to continue into the first part of 2021. Consumption is showing signs of recovery globally which will have a positive impact on our transshipment volume. However, the economic reforms and austerity measures, coupled with the decision to implement VAT in Oman, will potentially impact domestic demand.”
Prospects for a recovery in Salalah’s general cargo business seem healthy with increased volumes of key commodities seen in the early part of 2021. Limestone and bagged cement forecasts remain bullish as construction activities pick up, while liquid bulk movements are also looking positive as the new Salalah LPG facility will be operational by the end of March this year.
Overall, last year was a good one for the Omani ports industry. According to state holding company, Asyad, the country’s ports handled about 54 million tons of general cargo in total, including 18.4 million tons of liquid bulk and 5.2 million TEU of containers, recording a 3.45% and 5% rise respectively in the latter two segments compared to 2019. Livestock imports also saw a noteworthy increase in 2020, with a 38.7% rise over 2019, as 2.5 million heads of cattle were imported through Omani ports last year.