STOP-OFF POINT

Oman 2014 | DUQM | INTERVIEW

TBY talks to Peter Broers, CEO of the Port of Duqm Company, on the development of the port and prospects for the Duqm region.

Peter Broers
BIOGRAPHY
Peter Broers is the CEO of the Port of Duqm Company (PDC), which is one of the pioneer companies in the Duqm area. Prior to joining PDC, Broers managed port-related projects in Hai Phong (Vietnam), Montevideo (Uruguay), and Antwerp (Belgium) for Katoen Natie and Rent-A-Port. He started his career as a civil engineer with Belgian dredging company DEME in the field of port infrastructure contracting, doing projects including quay wall deepening and repair.

How is the Port of Duqm Company (PDC) structured?

For the Port of Duqm, as with most of the big projects in Oman, the government decided to team up with an established player in the industry with a proven track record. A similar approach was made for the Port of Sohar, for which the Port of Rotterdam, in the Netherlands, was selected and for the Port of Salalah, APMT, with its HQ in the Netherlands, is participating. The Port of Antwerp, in Belgium, was invited by the Omani government to participate in the management of the Port of Duqm. Duqm has the additional advantage of being a special economic zone (SEZ), with its own independent body called the Special Economic Zone Authority of Duqm (SEZAD). This Authority regulates the complete economic zone of Duqm and acts independently in issuing commercial and environmental permits. SEZAD communicates directly with the concerned ministries in Muscat and acts as a single window for its internal stakeholders. It creates a more direct problem-solving mechanism, which is favorable for business. There are, of course, other attractive aspects to the zone, as there are unique regulations regarding imports and exports, and it is possible to do business here as a 100% foreign-owned company. The umbrella of SEZAD covers all projects in the area, and the Port of Duqm is a key project in this economic zone next to the industrial zone, airport, and tourism development projects. Today, a lot of our efforts go toward assisting the design, where we cooperate with the design team and contractors appointed by the involved ministry. We strive for the most up-to-date technology and design for the port.

How important is it that the Duqm project was started from scratch?

I think it is a key aspect for future success. From the start you can put the right direction forward. For example, the marine works have been designed and executed to accommodate the largest vessels up to a draft of 18 meters. Also, both dry docks are some of the biggest in the region and are more than 400 meters long. The total port boundary is 170 square kilometers and the area for logistics covers 1,550 hectares. Each time we make a decision we have to keep one eye on the requirements of the future. We want to make the port as modern as possible, and the fact that we started from scratch has allowed us to anticipate future needs. Because of this, the long lifespan of our port will be guaranteed.

When do you expect the port to be running at full capacity?

A port is never finished. If you look at the Port of Antwerp, it has been developing for 500 years, dock-by-dock, step-by-step. It is still growing and upgrading its infrastructure for present and future requirements. Out of the first package, the marine works that include both breakwaters, dredging the approach channel, the first port basin, and the construction of the commercial quay walls have been finished. Parallel to these works, both dry docks have been built and are now operated by the Oman Drydock Company (ODC). The roads of this first package are now being constructed. The packages that take care of the pavement on the commercial quay wall, the technical buildings, and the entrance gate complex with its fencing are now under design. Once they are constructed, the commercial quay, which is 2.4-kilometers long, will accommodate a general cargo terminal, two container terminals, and one dry-bulk terminal. The construction should be finished in 2016. To accommodate the in- and out-flows of the refinery coming to Duqm, the development of liquids jetties, which will be on the other side of the port, has to be carried out. This package has to come into operation by 2017. As you see, it will be a never-ending story.