Salalah Port Services Company is aiming to complete an expansion of its cargo terminal by the first quarter of 2014, having mobilised construction on the project, according to a senior executive at the company.

The expansion is required to provide export capacity for the planned ethylene dichloride (EDC) and caustic soda complex project being developed by the local chemicals manufacturer Saltic at a cost of more than $500m.

“Saltic needs to export all of its supply of chemicals,” said Arjan Weerstand, general manager for development and implementation at the Port of Salalah. “The project is still in the implementation stage because it cannot operate without the new berth.”

The project is designed with the capacity to produce 1,231 tonnes a day (t/d) of EDC – a chemical intermediate – and 1,000 t/d of caustic soda, which is used to produce paper, soap, detergents and bleach. It is unclear whether progress on Saltic’s project has been delayed as the company waits for Salalah’s port facilities to be expanded.

The expansion scheme will increase Salalah’s cargo handling capacity to 20 million tonnes a year (t/y) of dry bulk commodities and more than 6 million t/y of liquid products, up from a total cargo handling capacity of 6.5 million t/y during 2011.

Salalah Port Services Company is a joint venture of the Oman government, Danish shipping group AP Moller-Maersk and other Omani investors.