Norfolk -- The Virginia Port Authority (VPA) and the Port of Salalah today (July 12) signed a memorandum of understanding establishing the groundwork for information sharing aimed at generating new business by promoting the all-water route between the growing Oman seaport and Virginia.
The agreement will see both organizations cooperate, where possible, on marketing activities, market research, training and exchanging information on technology and modernization.
"This signifies the beginning of a working relationship, and hopefully one that is long-term, where both parties benefit," said Russell J. Held, the VPA's deputy executive director of development. "Our goal with this MOU is to share operational best practices, jointly market our good service connectivity, take advantage of the U.S-Oman free trade agreement and drive investment and business growth on both ends of the supply chain."
The Port of Salalah, located in southern Oman on the Arabian Sea, is one of the busiest transshipment ports in the world. The port, situated right on the major East – West shipping lanes offers access to the Middles East, Indian sub-continent, East Africa, the Indian Ocean and more than 2.5 billion consumers.
The agreement was signed by Held and Peter Ford, chief executive officer of the Port of Salalah, at a ceremony held at APM Terminals in Portsmouth. Ford is on the left in the photo above.
"This is an important relationship to cultivate because of Salalah's strategic location." Held said. "The Middle East and Indian sub-continent are important markets for us and the Suez trade route to and from Asia continues to grow in importance to The Port of Virginia."
In 2012, 21 percent of the total cargo volume handled at The Port of Virginia moved through the Suez Canal. Many of the ships moving cargo along that trade route regularly take advantage of Virginia's 50-foot-deep shipping channels because those vessels are so large that they require deep water to safely navigate.