Though it is quite early, a proposal to link Duqm Port to regional oil exporters is a win-win development for all concerned. For the exporters of the Gulf Region who are bottled in by the incredibly busy Strait of Hormuz, direct exports through the deep-sea port of Duqm will be a dream situation. The east-facing port’s strategic location is a big boon to the nations that are now forced to negotiate through the perpetually troubled Hormuz waters. From the security point of view also, every shipping company wants to avoid Hormuz, which is perpetually close to flashpoint.
The Sultanate’s planners have been exceptionally foresighted in setting up the Oman Tank Terminal Company to construct a $400-million crude storage park in Ras Al Markaz which is central to the port’s growth plans as an international logistics hub. They must be appreciated for understanding the geostrategic significance of the port’s location. The port’s direct access to the international shipping lanes of the Arabian Sea which connect to Asia’s global growth centres underscores its strategic significance.
The international profile of Special Economic Zone Duqm (Sezad) is rising every day with more and more deals being signed. Only recently, Sezad secured massive funding that should help it complete the infrastructure development in time for the 2020 deadline. Under the deal, the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) will extend a $265-million credit line. Sezad Chairman HE Yahya Bin Said Al Jabri signed the agreement with AIIB vice-president and CEO for investment DJ Pandian. The funds will no doubt help hasten the work of this extremely important infrastructure project. The deal is also a stamp of confidence of international funding majors like AIIB on Sezad. AIIB’s approval is highly coveted by all infrastructure projects of Asia as the multilateral lender has been established as an alternative to World Bank.
Duqm enjoys primacy of place in the nation’s push for economic diversification, Tanfeedh, under which a set of thrust areas has been identified. The success of the nation’s push for the sectors of logistics, infrastructure, mining and fisheries depends heavily on the fast completion of Sezad. Duqm Port is the linchpin of the nation’s thrust to become an international logistics hub.
The Arabian Peninsula and North East Africa can easily access the shipping lanes through Duqm. The port is also important to the nation’s mining push for which new laws are expected to be in place by June. The laws will lay down the legal framework for investment in mining bringing in world class technologies to exploit the wealth of the nation’s mineral rich mountains.
Director General of Research and Geological Surveys Ali Salim Ali Al Rajahi has said the process of framing of the laws is progressing smoothly. The draft law is now with the Council of Ministers from where it will be sent to the Council of Oman for legislative consent. The government’s proposal to lay down a railway network that could more efficiently link the mineral-rich areas with key ports will be in addition to the capacity of the road nework. Sezad was in focus recently during a visit of a delegation of Al Wusta branch of Oman Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Occi) to Taiwan and earlier to South Korea where investor interest was evident.
Singapore -29 Sep 2017
Falling under the Sultanate's Promising Plan for Economic Diversification and Maintaining a Crude Oil Storage Terminal for Oman