Oman Shipping Company eyes bulk cargo transport business

Oman’s state-owned shipping company plans to capture a sizable share of the transport market for aggregates, which is a promising area in the country.

Bulk cargo is an area that is likely to grow, thanks to a phenomenal growth in aggregate exports from the Sultanate, Tarik Mohammed Al Junaidi, chief executive officer of Oman Shipping Company, told the Times of Oman in an exclusive interview.

That is an area we want to capture. We are now exporting small cargoes and that is not enough. We want to get into a bigger scale,” he said, adding that Oman Shipping Company (OSC) might need anywhere between two to 10 bulk carriers for transporting loose cargoes. However, the number of vessels will depend on how much business the shipping line can capture.

Oman has been exporting aggregates to several countries, including India, Qatar and Bangladesh.

Referring to the emerging business opportunities from Duqm Refinery, Al Junaidi said OSC is discussing the subject with its counterparts in Kuwait. As per an understanding between Kuwait and Oman, the proposed refinery will get 65 per cent of its crude oil from Kuwait and 35 per cent from the Sultanate. It is believed that the Kuwait Oil Tanker Company (KOTC) will be the shipping partner for transporting crude from Kuwait. “We are talking to them how KOTC and Oman Shipping can collaborate in order to provide a complete solution for the refinery. But the discussions are at a very early stage.”

Al Junaidi also noted that the need for additional tanker vessels for Duqm Refinery would depend on various factors, including destination and quantity. “There are several questions. Do we need medium range (MR) tankers or large range 1 (LR1) or large range 2 (LR2) tankers? Clarity on these issues will emerge before the middle of next year.”

He further said it takes two to three years to build a new tanker vessel in a shipyard. However, it would not take much time to acquire second-hand vessels from the market.

Al Junaidi also said that the shipping lines of Oman and Qatar could collaborate to provide transport solutions to Qatar. Recently, Qatar Ports Management Company (Mwani Qatar) and Oman Global Logistics Group (Asyad) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for the development of logistics services, shipping and passenger ferry services. “It shows that there is a long-term strategy on how both countries can collaborate in the future.”

Meanwhile, OSC plans to acquire two container vessels to replace its current chartered ships. OSC is looking for second-hand container vessels, each with a capacity of 3,000 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs). It has a fleet of 51 vessels, which have a combined capacity of 8 million deadweight tonnes (DWT) now.

Oman Ship Management Company, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Oman Shipping Company, manages 39 vessels of the parent company at present. These are a mix of high-tech fleet spanning a diverse range of VLCCs, LNG carriers, product tankers, multi-purpose vessels, very large ore carriers and container ships.

Starting with LNG transportation, Oman Shipping’s expansion was very fast-paced and broad-based and was aimed at catering to the needs of Oman’s oil and gas, petrochemical and other industries.

Source: Times of Oman

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