Qatar has inaugurated the new $7.4 billion Hamad Port that promises to raise the capacity of the Gulf coast by 7.5 million TEU a year.
Political tensions with neighbouring Arab states means that the country’s regional transport hub will be an important economical shield against the sanctions that were implemented in June by Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
Qatar’s reliance on using Dubai as a re-export hub has not stopped it from receiving imports and creating shipping routes that connect directly to countries such as China, India, Oman, Turkey and Pakistan.
The opening of the port will now bring further food security and economic diversification in line with Qatar National Vision 2030, a project that aims to boost the country’s economic diversity.
It will also help import building materials for construction projects including stadiums for the 2022 soccer World Cup.
Large container ships will now go directly to Qatar rather than docking in the United Arab Emirates, where cargo used to be transferred to smaller vessels.
A ceremony marking the opening of Hamad Port, which is 40 kilometres south of the Qatari capital city of Doha, took place in a dome-shaped tent on its docks (video below).
According to Reuters, Qatari Transport Minister Jassim bin Saif al-Sulaiti said: “The port… will break the shackles of any restrictions imposed on our economy. We are not giving up on our hopes and ambitions.”
In a conversation with Gulf Times, al-Sulaiti claimed that the Hamad Port is taking 27% from the commerce of the entire region.
al-Sulaiti added: “We never thought we are taking this much volume in Hamad Port; and this is a testament of Hamad Port’s success.
“In the next two years, Hamad Port is expected to take more than 35% of trade in the region.”
Video credit: Aljazeera