The Saudi-led trade boycott of Qatar has not fazed Doha from strengthening its ties as new shipping routes and agreements are keeping its future as a regional trade hub alive.
In the first of many promising turnarounds for the country, Minister of Transport and Communications HE Jassim bin Saif Ahmed al Sulaiti announced that Hamad Port is running at 70 percent capacity and has secured new shipping routes to Pakistan, Malaysia, and Taiwan.
Qatari shipping firm Milaha, one of the largest maritime and logistics companies in the Middle East, has also set up a new stand-alone transshipment hub in Oman, according to technology portal Port Technology International.
Oman is important to Qatar as it kept itself neutral during the disputes that have been taking place between Qatar and its neighbours, meaning that Milaha has avoided the ban on Qatari consignments at Jebel Ali, the UAE.
Abdulaziz Nasser al Yafei, Hamad Port Director, recently said that the facility is operating”at full capacity”.
A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between Qatar Ports Management Company and Qatar Chemical and Petrochemical Marketing and Distribution Company (Muntajat) is also ensuring trade continues to strengthen for Qatar
The agreement for Muntajat to receive Hamad Port’s services for a renewable five-year period has provided a window into how strong the winds of change are blowing as Muntajat will now be able to export many its shipments through Hamad Port to destinations around the world.
Muntajat CEO Abdulrahman Ali al Abdulla has stated that further destinations will be revealed, but until then, the MoU allows the company to ship products directly from Hamad Port to 2,000 customers in 135 countries.
“Hamad Port has been able to achieve significant achievements at the regional and international levels in a short period of time as it has provided various international maritime transport lines and will continue work towards achieving economic diversification through opening new international lines to improve Qatar’s competitiveness and transfer it into a regional trading hub,” Sulaiti said.
Hamad port will be more than capable of handling any future trade increases after construction contracts worth $500 million were recently secured for phase two of the project.
But it’s not just Qatar’s shipping sector that is experiencing a shake up as the country has also changed its travel policies. Just two days ago, Qatar announced that visas would not be required for 80 countries around the world.