Three new container berths, new government berths, dedicated cruise terminal, expanded breakwater arms, and a new approach channel are part of an ambitious package of works envisaged for implementation as part of the Phase 3 expansion of Port of Salalah , the Sultanate's preeminent container transshipment and logistics hub overlooking the Indian Ocean. Leading international engineering consultancy firms are preparing to bid for a contract to study and design this key package of works on behalf of Oman's Ministry of Transport and Communications. Billed as the largest upgrade since the port came into operation in 1998, the Phase 3 expansion is expected to cost several hundred million dollars to implement, say experts.
According to officials, the most significant component of the upgrade is the expansion of the existing Container Terminal through the design and implementation of Quays 7, 8 and 9 each of about 450-metre length and about 500 metres wide. The berths, which add a further 1,350 metres of quay wall to the port's existing 2,500-metre-long quay length, will be equipped with the backland infrastructure to support modern, efficient container terminal operations. Also as part of its brief, the selected bidder will design and oversee the implementation of a roughly 3.7-kilometre-long North Breakwater whose primarily function is to protect the existing and future berths against long-wave energy responsible for moored vessel motion.
Additionally, the North Breakwater will support the establishment of a platform featuring a 1.2-kilometre-long berth to accommodate cruise ships as well as government vessels. Moreover, the breakwater will enable the construction of a marina at its root, while also serving as a physical barrier separating the secured port zone from the adjacent surrounding areas.
Equally significant is the proposed construction of a roughly 800-metre-long extension to the existing South Breakwater. As with the North Breakwater, the southern extension will be designed to protect the existing and future berths against long-wave energy. The initiative will also help reduce swells along the liquid bulk jetties and existing container berths.
Importantly, a new approach channel will be created to the expanded port. The 300-metre-wide channel will be dredged to a depth of 19 metres and designed to accommodate two traffic lanes. Additionally, the selected consultant will design and oversee the dredging of a new turning basin (north basin), and various access channels to the Phase 3 expansion berths, and the berthing areas.
A host of new structures and facilities are also envisioned for design and implementation as part of the Phase 3 expansion. They include the construction of a roughly 300-metre-long stub breakwater to be constructed perpendicular to the North Breakwater to protect the government and cruise berths against locally generated waves and other waves diffracting into the port from the harbour entrance.
Furthermore, the consultancy services contract calls for the design of new berths for tugboats and pilot boats, along with all other associated landside infrastructure. A marina for small crafts will also be designed at a suitable site chosen on the basis of a study to be carried out by the consultant.
Given the scope and scale of these initiatives, the proposed upgrade is expected to reinforce the gateway's ability to attract new mainline carriers to Salalah, thereby strengthening its position in the rankings of the world’s largest transshipment hubs, it is pointed out.
Salalah Port is operated and managed by Salalah Port Services, a joint venture that includes APM Terminals (30 per cent), one of the world’s biggest terminal operators, the Government of the Sultanate of Oman (20 per cent), local private sector investors, government pension funds and investors on the Muscat Securities Market.
Source: Oman Daily Observer
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