Fujairah National Shipping targets trade growth despite Gulf tensions

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Maritime services company Fujairah National Shipping (FNS) is stepping up investments in the emirate, aiming to benefit from expanding Gulf shipping trade despite tensions in the region and the diplomatic crisis with Qatar, its chief executive said.

Fujairah, on the United Arab Emirates’ east coast, is the country’s only multi-purpose port outside the Strait of Hormuz, giving it direct access to the Gulf of Oman and the Indian Ocean.

Fujairah’s shipping trade continued to exceed the port’s capacity and FNS, a unit of conglomerate Fujairah National Group, had made a “multi-million dollar” investment to take advantage of the planned expansion of the port, CEO Sanjeev Sarin said, declining to provide details.

Sarin said the company had acquired ships - including bunker barges - and oil storage facilities in Fujairah as well as looking into acquiring land in the area of the port under development that would create dry docking facilities.

He said between 100 and 130 ships were at anchor every day in and around Fujairah’s waters and that number was expected to rise, putting more pressure on servicing those vessels.

“The number of bunker barges has reached saturation point ... because the location can’t handle it,” Sarin told Reuters in a telephone interview.

“We believe there will be further opportunities that will come our way with the expansion of the port and the market opening up.”

In June, Abu Dhabi Ports said it had signed a 35-year concession to develop and manage the Port of Fujairah.