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OCL posts strong uptake of container feedering service

source:hellenicshippingnews author: time:2014-04-29  

Oman Container Lines (OCL), the container shipping division of subsidiary of Oman Shipping Company, has reported a dramatic increase in the utilisation of its flagship container feedering service, Gulf Express Service (GEX), which connects the ports of Muscat and Sohar with Jebel Ali in the UAE. Container volumes carried last year surged to around 174,000 TEUs, up from 34,740 TEUs in 2012. Average year-to-date (YTD) utilisation soared to 81.86 per cent last year, up from 35 per cent in 2012, a senior official of Oman Shipping Company said. Liner operations currently constitute a small part of Oman Shipping Company's overall business. However, the success of its feedering service augurs well not only for the company's longer-term plans to grow its container presence but also for its efforts to support Omani non-oil exports.

Launching operations initially as a liner operator, Oman Container Lines made the strategic transition to being a third party feeder operator in February 2012 with the launch of its Gulf Express Service (GEX), connecting the ports of Salalah, Muscat and Jebel Ali, while Sohar was added later to this service. "This new service was the first step in enticing new customers to call Omani ports and utilise port locations like Salalah, Muscat and Sohar along with the established free-zones rather than similar locations in the UAE, and also to enhance connectivity between Omani ports," said the official. In 2013, Salalah Port was removed from the GEX and since then the service has proved to be an asset to the company with an average YTD utilisation of 81.86 per cent carrying around 174,000 TEUs compared to a utilisation rate of 35 per cent and 34,740 TEUs in 2012.

Such feeder services to nearby locations have the potential to become a greater part of Oman Shipping Company's operations, given Oman's strategic position in general, he said. Moreover, with the proposed shift of container activities from Port Sultan Qaboos (Muscat) to Sohar Port, Oman Shipping Company expects further growth in container volumes to be handled at Sohar, the official further noted. Oman Container Lines is a wholly owned subsidiary of Oman Shipping Company, which in turn is 80 per cent owned by the Ministry of Finance and 20 per cent owned by Oman Oil Company (OOC).  OSC is dedicated to supporting the shipping transportation needs of the Sultanate's vital energy and petrochemical sectors, as well as other industries dependent on dry and liquid bulk maritime shipping. (OEPPA Business Development Dept)


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