Super City phase 1 to open in 2020, says Duqm official

Posted on 15th July 2019

Super City phase 1 to open in 2020, says Duqm official
Image courtesy of: https://timesofoman.com/uploads/images/2019/06/01/1032797.jpg

According to *Times of Oman news report, the blank canvas that was Duqm a decade ago, with a population of 11,000, is on target to become one of the world’s most hi-tech and eco-friendly supercities, officials say.

Duqm has been transformed from an untouched coastal village to an economic and logistics super hub in the space of a decade. The development is breath-taking, with 60 per cent of all its infrastructure projects completed as part of its first phase, according to an official from the Special Economic Zone Authority of Duqm.

Speaking to Times of Oman the official said: “In the last 10 years, Duqm has developed significantly especially since the issuance of the Royal Decree in 2011. We have achieved a 60 per cent completion rate of the infrastructure projects which are part of the first phase of Duqm. The master plan for the development clarified the government’s role until 2025. Utilising the first phase of an area 800km sq. is the first part of the plan.”

The economic zone of Duqm consists of seven zones. The main one is the port which has achieved a 70 per cent level of development. The airport in Duqm is open while developments in the tourist district are semi-completed.

“The tourist district is ready for investment by the private sector. Meanwhile, the development of infrastructure in the industrial area has reached 50 per cent and some of that area is also ready for investment,” the official added.

The beauty of Duqm is that it is a modern urban planning model that preserves the environment and public health. Speaking about the importance of the environment in the development plans of Duqm, the official said: “Duqm’s environmental strategy was the first step in the planning stage. The environmental impact of any project was considered, and the land use projections were based on environmental considerations.”

“The heavy industrial area is located 38 kilometres away from the nearest residential area, against the (prevailing) wind. Buffer environmental zones were also placed around these industrial areas,” he added. “Environmental studies are an important factor that are considered in the planning, implementation and operation phase of each project.”

Authorities in Duqm also studied existing ports, with the official adding: “In order to benefit from the experience of Sohar and Salalah, we made a four-kilometre main landfill, which deals with hazardous and non-hazardous waste. In addition, we distributed sewage systems to each zone. We also preserved beach borders on our zones. From the highest tide point, we installed a 150-metre long border in residential and touristic areas, making them designated public beaches so that visitors to Duqm will not find it difficult to go to the beach. “

“We also paid great attention to the marine environment, by using a geographic information system to make baseline studies which also monitor the entry and exit of ships to ensure that no waste is being dumped into the ocean,” he explained.

The significance of the environment and the efforts to make Duqm a greener area is also highlighted in any agreements made with investors.

“We also have an afforestation strategy. For instance, one of the conditions that we place on investors is that they must designate a percentage of the land within their design for landscaping,” the official said.

There are three aspects that the government focused on which are planning, implementing the infrastructure facilities and the operation of the infrastructure.

“The role of the government is to prepare the infrastructure in the area for investment. Currently, any investor that visits the tourist area will see that the planning and infrastructure are complete,” the official said.

“Despite the fact that we are in the late stages of development, we were able to obtain the highest level of investment in the area, with $6 billion for the Duqm Refinery. This was because we prioritise the projects that are related to the refinery.”

Speaking regarding the residential development of Duqm, which is located in Oman’s central Wusta Governorate, the official said: “In the year 2010, the population of Wilayat Duqm was only 11,217, the figure is currently about to reach 30,000 and we estimate that by the year 2025, the population in Duqm will reach 70,000.”

Reggy Vermeulen, CEO, Port of Duqm spoke to Times of Oman regarding the tremendous development that has taken place on Duqm’s coast.

“Within a decade Oman has built all the breakwaters, the Oman drydock, the government pier, and furthermore, the quays are being completed,” he explained.

“All the infrastructure of the first phase has been completed and now we are working on the superstructure which includes the container, multi-purpose and liquid terminals, among others.”

“The first phase involves building a fully functional port. At the moment, we are still in early stages of operations but by 2020 we expect it to be fully operational,” he added.

“The finalisation of the fishing port is an important project because it will allow a new flow of cargo and goods. It also involves a conversion of the fishery sources in Oman into finished products in Duqm which are then exported abroad.

Vermeulen said: “This is one of the brand-new industries which will be born in Duqm, that will complement the fishery port where the fresh fish will arrive from the sea and Duqm’s industrial port where the finished product will be exported via container abroad. Another significant project is the current consolidation of the Oil and Gas logistics companies in Duqm; in the coming months and years, you will see more and more logistics companies arriving here. “

Speaking about the government’s efforts in developing the area, Vermeulen said: “The government put significant emphasis on the huge project of creating this new economic centre for the country, by putting all the necessary effort in terms of manpower, capital, political and international drive. The government of Oman has been heavily promoting Duqm globally which has led to its successful implementation”.

Vermeulen went on to say: “Duqm is crucial to the national logistic plan. One of the goals of the port of Duqm is to complement the Sultanate’s other ports such as Salalah and Sohar, which are well-established, in order to make sure that Oman is capable of working with any type of logistics situation. Furthermore, if there are certain logistics that are not currently taking place in Salalah or Sohar, we want to be able to do them in Duqm.”

“Our objective is to bring new business to Oman rather than take business from our neighbouring ports, all the while training and employing Omani nationals in order to have a national presence throughout all levels of the company from the top management to the workers along the quay,” Vermeulen said.

*News source: https://timesofoman.com/article/1607872/Oman/Duqm-Super-City-phase-1-to-open-next-year

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