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REGIONAL REPORTMIDDLE EAST


lifting and transport activities. “With Dubai gearing up for the Expo


2020, the market is definitely picking up,” he explained. “Civil engineering and construction, oil and gas, and power generation are the industries with the most opportunities at the moment.” The demand prompted Al Faris to invest


heavily in new equipment in 2018, including 70 new cranes, PST axle lines from Goldhofer, hydraulic gantries, and other jacking and skidding equipment. In Abu Dhabi, the heavy lift specialist has


been working on offshore drilling projects, supplying 25 different pieces of heavy equipment. “And recently we just finished a heavy


transport job for the ADNOC 3D seismic survey,” said Pinto. ”We moved surveying equipment and the entire camp location from Al Quo’a to Ghayathi in Abu Dhabi, covering a distance of around 400 km.” In Dubai, Al Faris worked on the Expo


2020 Metro link expansion. “In another project for the Route 2020, we will transport and offload 50 trains using our multi-axle hydraulic trailers and Liebherr all-terrain and mobile cranes,” added Pinto. Meanwhile, the Middle East’s economic


overhaul is also taking place in Oman, according to Mark Geilenkirchen, ceo at Sohar Port and Freezone. “The recent sustained slump in global oil


prices has given the Middle East’s plans for economic diversification a much-needed shot in the arm,” he noted. “Our continued strong industrial growth in and around Sohar, combined with other economic diversification efforts across the sultanate, continues to drive our heavy lift and project cargo business.”


Long-term growth plan He said Sohar’s long-term growth plan is to import feedstock and raw materials through the port, attracting industries that create products that can be re-exported. “In the port, the new Liwa plastics


project (developed by Orpic) is valued at over USD6 billion and is on track for completion by 2020. It will produce 1.4million tonnes of polymers a year and will open billions of dollars’ worth of business opportunities for downstream plastics manufacturers and service providers in the free trade zone.” While Oman and others look to diversify


their economies, Iran has fewer options on the table. In November 2018, the USA re-imposed tough sanctions on the country’s banking, energy, and shipping industries, following a 180-day wind-down period


www.heavyliftpfi.com


During 2017 a big project for Uzbekistan was handled via Iran, and due to technical problems was stopped. This project could have continued for several years, but currently it is running via Kazakhstan. – Farzad Saffarzadeh, Farasoobar


given to foreign firms. The move has already had dire consequences for Iran’s project logistics sector, prompting the inevitable slew of cancelled or delayed contracts. For example, Daelim cancelled a


USD2 billion contract to modernise a refinery in the Iranian city of Esfahan; while fellow South Korean EPC Hyundai Engineering & Construction cancelled a USD521 million deal to build a new petrochemicals complex. “Currently, due to the sanctions, most


projects are stopped or being rerouted via Georgia or Kazakhstan,” said Farzad Saffarzadeh, managing director of Farasoobar, a Tehran-based project forwarder. “During 2017 a big project for


Uzbekistan was handled via Iran, and due to technical problems was stopped. This project could have continued for several years, but currently it is running via Kazakhstan.”


Farasoobar’s portfolio of CIS-based


projects has been cast into disarray by the renewed sanctions on Iran.


This appears to be a common theme for


Farasoobar, with the company’s portfolio of CIS-based projects cast into disarray by the renewed sanctions. For example, Saffarzadeh said previously there were wind, solar, cement and rail projects in Uzbekistan and Azerbaijan, whereby most heavy cargo shipments were routed via Iran. Within Iran, a lack of equipment and


poor road infrastructure presents operational difficulties for heavy cargo moves. “The conditions of routes towards


Sarakhs and Lotfabad are very risky for transportation of heavy lift due to road conditions,” explained Saffarzadeh. “But the biggest challenge is the lack of


trucks and trailers for weights more than 500 tonnes, and even for smaller loads the equipment is quite old. And consider the bridge at the Armenia-Iran border, for example, which is not technically suitable for the movement of vehicles with a total weight of over 95 tonnes.”


Economic warfare As in Iran, Qatar has had to deal with economic warfare. A Saudi Arabia-led blockade has lasted over 18 months. However, according to Jigar Shah, consulting director at Doha-based JSL Global, there has been little impact on the project cargo market. “Most heavy lift and ro-ro vessel


operators are calling at Hamad port on a regular basis. They have changed their routing so they do not route cargo directly to or from Hamad port to blockade countries”. Shah said 2018 was a busy year for


Qatar’s project logistics market, as an array of infrastructure projects are nearing completion. These included the Qatar Metro, Lusail City, the Qatar mega reservoir, and FIFA World Cup stadiums. “We saw major enquiries and tenders for


oil and gas-related projects, and import shipments for Manateq: the Qatar special economic zone,” he added.


January/February 2019


HLPFI 123


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