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Oman Shipping fleet set to grow to 50 ships by 2018

source:hellenicshippingnews author: time:2014-04-16  

Oman Shipping Company SAOC (OSC), the principal provider of maritime transportation services to the nation's critical energy and industrial sectors, envisions a significant increase in the size of its national shipping fleet in line with a much-heralded ramp-up in hydrocarbon, petrochemical and industrial investment around the country.

The national fleet, currently numbering 43 ships, is projected to swell to 50 vessels by 2018, around the same time that the majority of mega-projects planned primarily at Sohar and Duqm, are slated to be operational.

This projected growth in fleet size and capacity underlines OSC's commitment to deploying the required tonnage necessary to service the maritime transportation needs of Oman's rapidly industrialising economy, said a company official.

"Oman Shipping Company has always focused on long term growth to serve Oman by leveraging the import and export of Omani cargoes, especially in the Oil and Gas sectors. Success depends on securing long term contracts and lots of efforts are being made in this regard in line with OSC's Mission Statement directly supporting the national economy," the official said.

"Basically, an essential element of having an Omani national shipping line is to have the required tonnage to primarily meet the national shipping requirements and thereafter to grow around this business. Indeed, OSC is playing a key role in this regard by providing a quite large and diversified fleet of 43 vessels presently of around 8 million DWT. This number is expected to increase further up to 50 vessels by 2018," the official added.

From the outset of its launch in 2004, Oman Shipping Company SAOC (OSC) has closely aligned its growth objectives with the strategic maritime transportation interests of the Sultanate's rapidly industrializing economy. Its world-class fleet of ocean-going merchant ships serves as the essential lifeline that supplies vital feedstock for the nation's mega industries, while also carrying Omani-origin energy products, petrochemicals, metals and other value-added merchandise to international markets.

OSC's fleet has grown by leaps and bounds in trend with the expansion of the energy and industrial sectors. The wholly government owned company currently operates 43 vessels (i.e. 34 owned and 9 chartered). The fleet comprises a variety of ship types such as LNG, LPG, VLCCs, VLOCs, Product Tankers (Chemical, LRs, and MRs), Multipurpose, Supramax, and Container vessels.

Of the 34 owned vessels, 16 are fully owned by OSC while the rest are partially owned with reputed local and international partners. Out of the 43 operating vessels, OSC is technically managing 23 vessels through its subsidiary company Oman Ship Management company (OSMC).

Importantly, the national shipping line has pledged to orient its own growth with the development of industrial hubs in the country. "With the potential growth of the existing and also establishment of new industrial hubs, i.e. Sohar and Duqm, the Company would like to position itself to be the first choice shipping solution provider, in particular, for Omani based companies and would also try to align its business plans and investments together with such industrial hub developments," said the official.

A case in point is OSC's support industries operating out of Sohar Port. Port calls by vessels owned or operated by OSC have been growing year-on-year, rising from 98 visits in 2011 to 183 in 2012. Port visits scaled higher to 208 in 2013, underscoring Sohar's importance as one of the main destinations for OSC's fleet.

Some of Sohar Port's biggest industries currently depend on OSC's modern vessels to either freight in their feedstock or raw materials and ship out their refined products and finished goods. For example, OSC carries all alumina imports of Sohar Aluminium under a long term contract involving the use of two of its Supramax vessels, namely 'Jewel of Shinas' and 'Jewel of Sohar', as well as provides spot vessels whenever appropriate.

Likewise, OSC's four VLOCs (Very Large Ore Carriers) are dedicated to carry 100 per cent of Vale Oman's iron ore imports, amounting to 9.9 million tons per year, from Brazil to Sohar under a long-term contract. Furthermore, the national shipping line has deployed three vessels, namely Masirah, Hellespoint Chieftain and Stealth Bahla that carry around 98.5 per cent of Orpic's locally transported products. Another three small LPG vessels has been provided to enable the lift of LPG from Orpic.


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