Expansion of the existing transportation system includes enlarging the port, Mina Qabus, near Muscat. Mina Qabus was expected to be inadequate to accommodate the projected increase in cargo traffic by the year 2000. An expansion project was designed to increase port capacity from 1.6 million tons to 2.6 million tons. The project involved converting two berths to container berths, building a new berth for the Royal Yacht Squadron, creating a storage area, and building a sea wall. The expansion was partially funded by the Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development.
The port of Muscat is modern and able to accommodate containerized shipping, although berths are sometimes in high demand and port productivity is substandard. The port actually closes Thursdays and Fridays. Muscat receives weekly service from APL and Maersk/Sea-Land, with the latter commencing direct service, rather than reefers off-loading from Dubai, in mid-1997. Higher Omani port charges and stiffer customs paperwork at Omani ports and airports have encouraged overland shipment from U.A.E. ports, particularly from Jebel Ali in Dubai. The government vows reforms to promote domestic port usage.
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