Mukhalla port plans move forward

28 October 2005
Discussions are under way between the government, the World Bank through its Port Cities Development Programme, and Beirut-based consultant Dar al-Handasah (Shair & Partners)on the overhaul of the ports infrastructure at Mukhalla in Hadramout. The likeliest outcome of talks is a decision to build a new port to serve the city, located near the airport.

The government had been looking at building the entire port at the fishing village of Broum, 35 kilometres from Mukhalla. However, due to the impact on the local fishing industry, it is now expected that the port will be built on the other side of the city in two phases, the first involving two berths and the second entailing addition of a third. The berths will initially have a depth of 16 metres, potentially increasing to 22 metres. Total project costs are estimated at $150 million .

Rotterdam Maritime Group, which is advising the government and the World Bank on the development of Aden Container Terminal (ACT), will provide advice on new berthing technology for the port.

Some new work is still expected at Broum. Negotiations are under way between Qatari officials, Sanaa and local private sector companies on investing in an estimated $20 million new berth at Broum, which would be used to export stone from the nearby mountains to Qatar. The berth would be about 150 metres long and have an alongside depth of 18 metres.

The 35-year concession to operate ACT is close to being finalised with DP World, the new entity encompassing the former Dubai Ports International. 'Negotiations have taken longer than we expected, with several issues - including indexation and the inclusion of a port services agreement in the concession - holding up progress,' says an official involved in the process. 'However, an agreement is almost finalised.'

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