Port of Salalah highlights growing East African market potential

Port of Salalah highlights growing East African market potential

Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in the East Africa region grew by 7% per annum between 2008-2020, almost three times as fast as OECD countries, and its population is forecast to grow by 55% between 2021 and 2040. The Port of Salalah, located in the Sultanate of Oman and strategically positioned to effectively serve this rapidly growing region, has been working with key customers to meet this growing demand for international trade.

The Port of Salalah, located in the Sultanate of Oman, offers up to five days shorter transit times between South/East Asia, and countries in the East African region, including Somalia, Dijbouti, Kenya, Tanzania, Seychelles, Ethiopia, Zambia, South Sudan, and Uganda, compared to the other key hub ports in the region.

African exports traditionally have a strong overlap with Omani and Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) imports and exports for which Port of Salalah offers supply chain solutions that helps enhance their product competitiveness. Exports include vehicles, lifestyle & retail products, and perishables such as avocados, flowers, and nuts. There’s also a strong overlap with basic commodity imports, including food grains, fertilisers, construction materials, textile, and chemicals.


Flexibility for global brands

“This potential has already been discovered by the food grain and fertiliser industry,” explains Sunil Joseph, Chief Commercial Officer at the Port of Salalah. “A number of global brands have already started utlising Salalah as their regional distribution hub, thereby reducing their order to delivery cycle by more than 10 weeks.”

“East African retail chains are mostly local, sourcing from local distributors and producers. I therefore see potential to support future large retail chains’ expansion in East Africa through both air and ocean connectivity offered in Salalah along with potential to store and redistribute depending on the demand.

“Right now, there’s an immediate opportunity for store fixtures delivery to support new openings and periodic refurbishing of stores and other outlets in East Africa. And I also see an opportunity to act as (de)consolidation hub for scaffolding, construction materials and other semi-perishable items in Salalah.”

Uncrowded East-African Markets

For businesses targeting the East African market, which has a relatively uncrowded competitive landscape, the Port of Salalah offers unrivalled potential. The Salalah Free Zone located next to the port offers 0% corporate tax, 0% customs duties, 100% foreign ownership and no minimum capital requirements, and is therefore an ideal distribution centre for companies looking to create flexible supply chains into the Middle East and East Africa.

With an annual capacity of 5 million TEU and expansion currently in progress to add an additional 30% capacity, the Port of Salalah also has sufficient spare capacity to cater for all shipping lines. Port of Salalah also handles approximately 21 million metric tonnes of general and liquid cargo per annum - thereby offering multiple cargo handling solutions in one port.

Competitive costs

Consistently ranked as the second most efficient terminal in the World in the Container Ports Performance Index (CPPI) published by the World Bank and S&P Global, Port of Salalah offers fast discharging and industry leading truck turn times. “These high levels of standards means that the Port offers extremely high efficiency and cost competitiveness in comparison to other more highly marketed Port choices in the region,” concludes Joseph.