Sohar Bulk Terminal to launch operations soon
Wednesday, 15 February 2012 | 11:00
An Omani-Indian consortium will spend around $45 million in the development of superstructure and storage yard facilities linked to the operation of a new Bulk Minerals Terminal at the Port of Sohar.
The investment will be made by the joint venture of Khimji Ramdas Shipping, one of the largest providers of shipping and maritime services in the Sultanate, and TM International Logistics Limited (TMILL), a renowned Indian-based integrated marine logistics services company, in line with the terms of a recent concession agreement concluded with Sohar Industrial Port Company (SIPC) for the operation of the dedicated dry bulk terminal.
The terminal has been built as an extension of the 1,380-metre-long deepwater jetty currently operated by Vale Oman as part of its massive iron ore pelletising plant and distribution complex at Sohar. A 220-metre length of the jetty has been developed into a Bulk Minerals Terminal to handle both import and export cargoes.
“We have engaged the services of a specialised design consultant to prepare a preliminary engineering concept plan and evaluate the superstructure requirements linked to the operation of a 10 million tonnes per annum capacity terminal,” said MC Jose, CEO of Khimji Ramdas Projects & Logistics Group.
“The terminal will be equipped to handle various kinds of minerals, including aggregates, ores, limestone and thermal coal, to name a few. Technical design work and superstructure planned are being done in consultation with SIPC’s technical team,” he added in comments to the Observer.
Among the major superstructure facilities envisaged for installation at the terminal is a combined ship loader/unloader with a loading capacity of 4,500 tonnes per hour (TPH) and unloading capacity of 2,500 TPH. Also planned is a 3.6 kilometre long unified conveying system for inbound and outbound cargo.
Furthermore, a combined stacker and reclaimer system is proposed to be established at the 9-hectare storage yard earmarked by SIPC for dry bulk volumes.
The equipment is targeted for installation and commissioned within 18 months of the approval of the evaluation study, added Jose.
But pending the operationalisation of the new terminal, the joint venture operator plans to shortly commence operations from temporary jetty and storage facilities allotted by the port at Berth No 14.
“We are gearing up to launch operations from the temporary terminal during the second half of this month,” Jose explained. “A 45,000 sq metre area has also been allotted as storage yard space with Berth No 14 temporarily assigned for loading and unloading operations. Although these facilities are primarily earmarked for the export of aggregates from Sohar, we will also be targeting other mineral exports and imports.”
The temporary terminal will be suitably equipped to handle around 10,000 tonnes of aggregates per day. “While front-end loaders and tippers will be deployed for shore handling operations, ship loading will be done through the vessel’s gears fitted with grabs. Shore grabs will be made available if necessary. Stevedoring services will also be provided at site. The temporary facility will initially be geared to handle at least three export shipments per month, but the Consortium is prepared to beef up its handling capabilities if we see any upward trend in cargo throughput,” said Jose, adding that competitive tariffs will be available to customers against long term export agreements.
In the interim phase, Berth 14 will continue to be the setting for temporary dry bulk operations for at least two years before the focus shifts to the dedicated Bulk Minerals Terminal, Jose added.
As consortium partner, Khimji Ramdas Shipping, one of the largest and most diversified providers of shipping and maritime services in the Sultanate, is joining hands with Tata Martrade International Logistics (TMILL), an internationally renowned integrated marine logistics services company.
A subsidiary of the Indian steel conglomerate, Tata Steel, TMILL specialises in bulk and break bulk handling with operations at a number of major Indian ports.
At the Port of Haldia on India’s east coast, TMILL operates a terminal dedicated to the bulk handling of commodities like iron ore, limestone, fertilizer raw material, among others, in addition to break bulk cargoes such as steel products and project cargo.
The company also operates a facility at a new deepwater port at Dhamra jointly developed by Tata Steel and Larsen & Toubro also on India’s east coast. The terminal is designed to handle 25 million tons of coal and other ores annually.
Source: Oman Observer