OMANI PORT HOPES TO BE IN WORLD'S TOP 20 FOR BOX TRAFFIC

OMANI PORT HOPES TO BE IN WORLD'S TOP 20 FOR BOX TRAFFIC

This Middle Eastern country's Salalah Port Services is gearing up to open a container terminal that it hopes will put the Gulf Arab state on the world map as a key transshipment hub.

Chief Executive Jack Helton said in an interview that the port in the southern town of Salalah was expected to be among the world's 20 busiest harbors, handling at least 500,000 containers in the first year of operation. Capacity was expected to rise to nearly 2 million containers further down the track.The port has two initial customers, Sea-Land Service Inc. and Maersk Inc., he said. Sea-Land and Maersk each own 15 percent of Salalah Port Services, while the Omani government holds 20 percent.

The port, being built in four phases, is expected to open in November and be fully completed next July. Initial investment would be between $260 million and $300 million, depending on the final order of equipment, which was due to start arriving at the port next month.