The Port of Fujairah was built in the early 1980s as part of the economic development of the United Arab Emirates. Fujairah is situated on the East Coast, just outside the Strait of Hormuz, and with its port being a secure portal to the Gulf; it has seen steady growth over the years. Due to its convenient location along one of the world’s major shipping routes, the port has emerged into a major oil and logistic hub.
A mild wave climate, easy access due to its deep water relatively close to the shore, and the fact that Fujairah is piracy-free, have all contributed to the port’s success. The mild wave climate allows open sea terminal operations and bunker trade in particular has played a key role in its growth; the port is now ranked alongside Singapore and Rotterdam in size.
Moreover, the importance of the port is increasingly recognised, with several national strategic projects being developed. One of these is the 1.5 million barrels per day (bpd) ‘Fujairah Habshan Oil Pipeline’, with its main oil terminal in Fujairah and the 250,000 bpd refinery which is planned for completion in 2016. Additionally, an LNG terminal is being constructed north of the Port of Fujairah.
To strengthen the private sector and support companies in the oil industry, a special zone for oil companies has been established in the area north of the port. This Fujairah oil industry zone (FOIZ) aims at developing the strategy for investment in the region and regulating the petroleum and hydrocarbon industries.
Fujairah oil tanker terminal
While the Port of Fujairah, being a multi-purpose port, offers a wide variety of services such as container handling, general cargo, break bulk, project and maritime logistical supply especially its oil tanker terminals have expanded rapidly in recent years. In 1996, the Van Ommeren tank terminal (currently Vopak Horizon Fujairah Ltd., VHFL) became operational with an onshore oil storage facility and offshore jetty operating independently. In 2004 a dedicated oil terminal (OT1) inside the Port of Fujairah was completed with three berths for handy size tankers and bunker barges. This facility mainly serves the Fujairah refinery just north of the port.
Forward projections of the increasing importance of Fujairah as a strategic oil hub, have resulted in the conception and planning of a second oil terminal (OT2), developed jointly with MUC Engineering. OT2 is being created around a new harbour basin, north of the existing port which is dredged to -18 metres. The new terminal is completely dedicated to handling oil tankers.
The first four berths of OT2 were commissioned in 2010 and currently accommodate tankers up to 200,000 deadweight tonnes (DWT). These berths have been realised as a 1,500 metre long quay wall. As a response to the increasing demand for more berths, the port has decided to continue the construction and is currently developing two further berths, which will be able to handle partly-loaded very large crude carriers (VLCC). These berths are planned to be finalised in early
2014. With these two new berths, the number of oil tanker berths in the Port of Fujairah totals nine, with six berths being able to handle tankers up to 180,000 DWT.
Additionally, in May 2013, the construction of the three-kilometre northern breakwater started. This breakwater shall enclose the northern harbour basin to protect OT2 against swells, and will serve as a causeway to a new VLCC berthing facility. This VLCC berth is planned to be built on the seaward end of the northern breakwater at a water depth of -26 metres and is scheduled to be operational in mid-2016. Furthermore, a number of dedicated berths for bunker barges and chemical tankers are at the drawing board.
Independent oil storage terminals
Only VHFL runs a self-owned jetty and all other commercial storage terminals in the FOIZ use the Port of Fujairah facilities for marine loading and unloading operations. Fujairah continues to attract new companies that commit to building storage tanks in Fujairah. In addition, existing tank farms all undertake new expansion projects to upgrade their terminals. As a result, the total capacity of all commercial storage terminals is increasing and is expected to reach 8
million cubic metres by the end of 2014. Consequently, the anticipated throughput through the Fujairah oil tanker terminal could reach an annual 70 million tonnes at the end of 2014. This is exclusive of the crude which is being exported through the Abu Dhabi Crude Oil Pipeline (ADCOP). With the six berths on its jetty being fully occupied, VHFL has also started the construction of pipelines connecting its terminal to the Port of Fujairah, in order to use the berths in the Fujairah oil tanker terminal.