At a time when most countries in the world are still struggling to get back on their feet due to the pandemic setback, Omani ports are making headlines for all the right reasons. Recently, the port of Salalah was ranked second in the world in Container Ports Performance Index (CPPI). The port which was ranked 6th in 2020, climbed four positions to achieve this feat, reinforcing the fact that Oman is now looking at becoming a world player in the global supply chain and logistics sector. Not just that, it also achieved the number 1 rank in the throughput category of large ports that deal with above 4 million TEUs.
To determine the top 100 high-performing ports in the world, the World Bank – S&P Global Market Intelligence captured the performance time stamp data for 164,500 port calls that involved 257.4 million container moves at approximately 826 container terminals in a total of 443 ports across the world. This was further narrowed down to 371 ports as per the data available. And amongst all other contenders, the port of Salalah made an enviable climb of four spots making Oman proud. The port of Salalah ended 2021 with a record-breaking movement of 4.5 million TEUs, which is higher than its own record in 2020. Not just that, it also outperformed its contemporaries in terms of operational efficiency.
Port of Salalah – A giant achiever
The Oman government, in its bid toward economic diversification, has identified several sectors, including the logistics sector, where it is investing a huge amount of money and providing infrastructural support for its development. And its efforts are surely yielding results as is visible with the port of Salalah’s amazing performance. Not only has the government invested directly in the development of ports like Salalah, Duqm, and Sohar, but it also expedited its efforts to develop Special Economic Zones, business hubs around the ports, and world-class connectivity with the rest of the country. All these efforts have made a huge impact on the way its ports are now performing.
Despite all the challenges of 2020, the Oman ports, especially the port of Salalah performed beyond expectations and this can be attributed to effective follow-up, perfect coordination, and integration of the ministry, relevant government agencies, and global and local partners as well as the operators at these ports. This performance is only going to improve as the government is now looking at further streamlining the processes and partnerships between government and private sector bodies. If figures are any reflection of the efforts put in by the government, the port of Salalah witnessed an increase of 10.2 percent in throughput – from 15.296 million tons in 2020 to 16.861 million tons in 2021.
The port of Salalah enjoys a geographical advantage over other ports in Oman. And now that the government is enhancing its connectivity along with enabling world-class operations, it surely has gained an unparalleled competitive edge in the GCC region, which is growing in competition when it comes to port development. The port’s growth and status as a transshipment hub is extremely important for the local economy as the traders stand to benefit hugely from the kind of global connectivity the port provides them to do business. An increase in the local economy and growing business acumen will also attract more foreign investment, one of the many aspects that the Omani government is looking at to give it’s economy a boost.
An image makeover for Oman
The high ranking of the port of Salalah also works well for the improvement of Oman’s image as a global player in the logistics sector. This achievement will add more value to Oman in the global supply chain market as the ranking reflects high efficiency, capability, and productivity. The several efforts that the Oman government has put into developing this port are finally yielding the right results. The port has been able to ship more cargo and do so in record time. The shipment cycle has also been reduced as the shipments reach well within time, making it an extremely profitable deal for businesses.
To provide sustainable growth, the government is pushing several efforts and ensuring that the port continues to perform well. These efforts are aligned with its Vision 2040. Regular and dedicated investments in Salalah Free Zone and the airports are being made to attract more investments and expand the import and export capabilities. The port is currently handling a majority of transshipment load, but the government also plans to bring about a larger volume of direct shipments so that business opportunities can expand. A new deal with Yemen was signed recently offering multi-modal transport solutions that include ocean freight and last mile-first mile through carrier haulage.
With an enviable geographical positioning that gives it easy access to East Africa and South Asia, the Port of Salalah is all set to make heavy inroads in the logistics sector and make a name for itself globally. Jumping four spots globally is no mean feat. It requires dedicated efforts and smart planning to rank so high in such a short period of time. And this only seems to be the beginning for Oman, which is now going all guns blazing in making its ports a mainstay of economic diversification, local economic revolution, and becoming a global player in the logistics and maritime sector.