Days after EB24/7 broke the news about Fujairah's new port, which is expected to handle 60 per cent to 70 per cent of Abu Dhabi's total oil exports, Mousa Murad, General Manager, Fujairah Port, reveals details about the plan in an exclusive interview. The facility will have 17 docks to store and transport crude oil.
Murad said expansion work is going ahead on schedule and a loan of Dh900 million from the National Bank of Fujairah and the Commercial Bank of Dubai has been earmarked for the development plan.
What do figures and statistics reveal about Fujairah Port's operations during 2008 compared with 2007, and has the international financial crisis had an impact on the port?
There was a slight increase in total marine handling operations from 44,530 million tonnes in 2007 to 44.546 million tonnes in 2008. The volume of general goods handled rose from 230,430 tonnes in 2007 to 451,667 tonnes in 2008, an increase of 96 per cent. The volume of loose goods increased from 16,600,480 tonnes in 2007 to 20,049,832 tonnes in 2008, an increase of 20.77 per cent, while the volume of oil and gas fell from 27,699,570 tonnes in 2007 to 24,045,326 tonnes, a decrease of 15.19 per cent.
Nobody can deny that the financial crisis has had an impact on every sectors. The impact has been clear in the real estate and banking sectors, although it will have a limited impact on sea transport services. We are now investing in building reservoirs to store oil from Abu Dhabi before it is exported from Fujairah. The reservoirs will replace the ships that carry oil via the Arabian Gulf to oil tankers. The reservoirs will be linked via pipes to tankers in the Arabian Gulf.
What are the details of the reservoir project, the size of investment and the date when it will start operating? And is this part of the Dh900m development plan for Fujairah Port?
There is a plan to develop and expand Fujairah Port with loan of Dh900m from the National Bank of Fujairah and the Commercial Bank of Dubai. The plan includes the construction of a new facility called the Industrial Port near the original Fujairah Port to export some of Abu Dhabi's oil. The Industrial Port will have 17 docks to store and transport crude with a daily average starting at 1.5 million barrels This figure will increase to 1.8 million barrels, which is equal to 60 per cent to 70 per cent of Abu Dhabi's total oil exports. Work on the Industrial Port has started with the construction of four docks at a cost of Dh100m, which will be ready in June 2010. The remaining docks will be constructed in line with the project's needs. The Fujairah Government provided a piece of land for the Industrial Port project and Fujairah Port will provide the supply of all sea services.
Abu Dhabi's crude oil will be stored in the reservoirs on the docks of the Industrial Port. The oil will then be transferred from the reservoirs to giant tankers through pipes at a depth of 44m to 55m. This pipes will be able to deal with most of the world's largest tankers.
The Abu Dhabi-Fujairah oil line project will provide a new pipeline for Abu Dhabi's oil exports and will deal with giant tankers. It will be in addition to the existing line, which deals with small tankers. This is similar to what Saudi Arabia does – it has two pipelines for its oil exports. One carries crude to a terminal on the Gulf and the other leads to a port on the Red Sea. Our project will have seven modern tugs to serve Adnoc. I think the project represents a good beginning and recognises the strategic importance of Fujairah's location.
What about the other development projects at Fujairah Port?
Three new docks specialising in the transfer and handling of all kinds of oil will become operational in the next few days. This will increase the number of multi-purpose docks at the port to 12. The docks have been expanded so they can handle 80 service ships that provide all service at sea for more than 12,000 ships annually. The port will become the world's second-largest fuel provider after Singapore. Previously the fuel provision services were provided to ships anchored at the port. With the increase in demand for these services from 10,000 ships in 2006 to 12,000 in 2008 the provision of the services were transferred out to sea and the 80 ships were allocated to deliver them. The development and expansion plan also includes the construction of a 940m dock with a depth of 15m. In addition the plan includes the addition of new docks in the north and west parts of the port. The new docks will complement the current 840m-long dock for oil carriers. We are also due to set up a new stone crane with a capacity bigger than that of the existing one. Plans to construct an oil refinery in Fujairah with a capacity of between 300,000 and 500,000 barrels per day are being discussed with Abu Dhabi authorities.
What about the agreement with DP World to develop Fujairah Port?
DP World has made leaps and bounds in the management and operation of hundreds of ports around the world. Since 2005, we have sought to benefit from that expertise to support Fujairah Port. The deal with DP World covers the development, expansion and rehabilitation of Fujairah Port to suit modern requirements. At the moment DP World is undertaking studies for a modern container port and the studies have shown that the existing container station and docks need more depth and higher standards.
PROFILE: Mousa Murad General Manager, Fujairah Port
Mousa Murad is a master mariner with more than 30 years' experience in marine-related activities and management.
He holds a postgraduate diploma in port operations management from the United Kingdom's Humberside College of Higher Technology.
Mousa joined the Fujairah Port as Assistant Harbour Master in 1981 and was appointed General Manager in 1995. During his tenure, the port has undergone significant development both in terms of berths and facilities and the range of its commercial activities.
A major part of the port's commercial portfolio is oil-related. The anchorage is recognised as a major marine logistics location and the port is ranked among the world's top three bunkering locations along with Singapore and Rotterdam.
Fujairah Port figures
– Dock water depth: 15 metres
– Storage area: 338,000 sq m
– Capacity of crane used to move rocks: 2,000 tonnes per hour
– Length of tanker dock: 840 metres
Construction of Fujairah Port started in 1978 as part of the UAE's economic development programme and operations were launched in 1983.
The facility is the only multi-purpose port on the UAE's east coast and occupies a strategically important position outside the Strait of Hormuz.
It is a meeting point for shipping lines in the East and the West and is an outlet for the Subcontinent and East Africa. Fujairah has become one of the largest centres for supplying tanker fuel and offers integrated services, including the handling of containers and general goods.