Yemen strife opens opportunities for Port of Salalah

Muscat - 

The strife in Yemen has opened up an opportunity for the Port of Salalah to act as a ‘gateway port’, bringing in additional sources of revenue.

Besides relief agencies making the port their hub for humanitarian aid supply, there has been an increased interest from Yemeni cargo owners and shipping lines to utilise its unique position vis-a-vis Yemen.

“In the last three months, the port has witnessed a sharp uptick in cargo destined for Yemen, that would have previously been routed directly to Yemeni ports. The Port of Salalah allows for both land and sea connections to Yemen, which have now become essential supply lines for international aid organisations and Yemeni businessmen alike,” Jesse Damsky, chief commercial officer, Port of Salalah, told Muscat Daily.

Establishing itself as a dependable and sustainable “gateway port for Yemen” is one of the primary goals of Port of Salalah to diversify its traditional services and mitigate fluctuations in the transshipment business.

“International container shipping lines currently calling at Salalah have a competitive edge to service the Yemeni markets today because of the land and sea connectivity to Yemen that is not available from other ports in the region. We are leveraging this connectivity to the Yemeni market to attract additional shipping lines to Salalah,” Damsky added.

Traditional dhows have been able to provide connectivity from the Port of Salalah to coastal areas in Yemen, and road connections via the Mazyona border crossing between Oman and Yemen have also allowed access to consumption centres in eastern Yemen.

He added that the ongoing political crisis in Yemen has caused major disruption in flow of commercial cargo and relief supplies reaching many critical places.

“Additionally, as much of the recent instability has been centered around the port city of Aden, many of the traditional supply routes are inaccessible. The Port of Salalah is in a unique position, given its close proximity to the Yemeni border (200km), to assist ongoing aid efforts as well facilitating the flow of desperately needed essential goods to the Yemeni people.”

Recently, the International Committee for the Red Cross (ICRC) chose the Port of Salalah as its hub to support ongoing efforts in Yemen. “The success of the ICRC operation in Salalah has garnered the attention of other international aid organisations, and we are looking to increase our support to ensure the movement of essential goods and services to the Yemeni people,” he said.

The crisis in Yemen might have opened an opportunity for the Port of Salalah currently, but it is something that the port wants to sustain in the time to come.

“Ideally, we would like to continue servicing the Yemeni market as a gateway port even after the current crisis has been resolved. We intend to do that by differentiating ourselves through reliable, consistent service and a high level of productivity that is unmatched by the Yemeni ports. We are continuing to improve our service to the Yemeni business community, and positioning ourselves with international aid organisations to continue to use the Port of Salalah as a hub for aid and relief efforts in the East Africa and the Middle East,” concluded Damsky.

Muscat Daily