Oman, Antwerp sign port deal

Quoting various sources including IHS Global Insight, LR-Fairplay’s Daily News reports that Antwerp has reportedly signed a deal with Oman’s government to set up a company to manage the new port of Duqm in the Gulf country’s eastern Al Wusta region.

“The government and Belgian port of Antwerp will each have 50 per cent shareholding in the new company, called Port of Al Duqm,” Oman’s finance ministry said.

The accord was signed by the Oman’s transport minister Khamis bin Mubarak Al Alawi and Marc Van Peel, chairman of the Consortium Antwerp Port, Reuters reported.

“Duqm is a landmark project pushed by Oman that will complement the main industrial ports in Salalah and Sohar,” IHS Global Insight pointed out.

LR-Fairplay said the joint company will start with US$10 million in capital and will manage and oversee an expansion of the operations at the port, with completion expected in 2012, the ministry’s secretary-general Darwish bin Ismail Al Balushi told the Oman Tribune newspaper.

“Plans for Duqm’s transformation are vast in the hinterland east, envisaging the building of a crude export terminal, an industrial area, a drydock – which may come online at the end of 2010 – and a free-trade zone, as well as a new airport, tourism facilities, and residential and business units,” Global Insight explained.

“The developments are part of Oman’s long-held oil-diversification plans” to address the country’s dwindling oil reserves, it added.

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