In a short statement released to the Muscat Securities Market at the end of last week, Ali Mohammed Redha, the Chairman of the Board of Directors of Salalah Port Services (SOAG), said that Ford had submitted his resignation from the services of APM Terminals on July 8.
The statement went on to say that Ford, “shall be relieved from the services by first week of September 2013.” It added that the Board thanked him for his contribution to the Company and wished him best of luck in his new endeavours.
The only response from Ford has been on Twitter, on which he said: “I have been offered the opportunity to be global COO for another organisation.”
His resignations came four days before he signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on behalf of the Port with Virginia International Terminals, at APMT’s Virginia facility in Portsmouth, USA. The agreement will see close co-operation between the two in areas of business development and knowledge sharing.
The alliance aims to draw further investment at the ports and appeal to investors and businesses to utilise the incentives provided by the US-Oman free trade agreement (FTA), which was introduced in 2009. The wide-ranging agreement allows investors to generate export opportunities, strengthen intellectual property rights protection and enforcement, and bolster the investment climate in Oman.
Speaking at the time of the signing, Ford said: “Our ports have complementary assets, both in current trade arrangements and geographical positioning. Through this MoU the Port of Salalah and Virginia International Terminals have agreed to explore initiatives to develop these current trade links and connections”.
Co-signatory to the MoU for VIT, Russell Held, deputy executive director of development, commented: “Our goal with this MoU is to share operational best practices, jointly market our good service connectivity, take advantage of the US-Oman FTA and drive investment and business growth on both ends of the supply chain.”
“This is an important relationship to cultivate because of Salalah’s strategic location,” Held added, saying: “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.”
Salalah’s free zone has seen a number of businesses set up to benefit from the US-Oman FTA, strategic location and connectivity to reach inland US markets as well as the emerging markets in close proximity to Salalah.