About 33% of the construction work of the New Port Project (NPP) that is scheduled for a first phase launch in 2016 has been completed, a senior official has disclosed .
Speaking to Gulf Times, Nabeel Mohamed al-Buenain, project executive director of NPP, said that construction activities were on the right track.
“We have already completed 33% of the entire project and some of the most challenging tasks are almost done. We have now started the construction of the buildings and other areas which are expected to be completed by late 2015 or early 2016,” said al-Buenain.
The NPP consists of a new seaport, a naval base for Emiri Navy and Qatar Economic Zone 3. Situated at Mesaieed, 24km south of Doha, the cost of NPP is estimated at QR27bn. Spread over 26.5km2, a major part of the project is on reclaimed land.
The port basin will be approximately 3.8km in length, 700m wide and 17m deep. In total, 63mn cubic metres of granular material, enough to fill l25,000 Olympic-size swimming pools, have been excavated for the project. A 10km-long canal will be built to dock the ships. The new port will be able to handle 2mn containers annually.
Al-Buenain said the new port was a priority for the government on various accounts. “We need to import a lot of materials for hosting the 2022 FIFA World Cup as well as to fulfil Qatar National Vision 2030. Therefore we need to develop it faster and make it operational at the earliest. The existing Doha Port is the only commercial port and it will not be able to handle the large volume of containers for these and other purposes. The new port is a top priority for the government as it is the only means to import things in a big way.”
The official also said that the new port would be linked to the rail network now being built so that the transportation of goods could be smoother and faster. “The rail network will connect the port as well as the naval base with other parts of the country. It will not only connect other areas within Qatar but also with the GCC rail network, making the harbour a hub of commercial transportation within the region.”
Al-Buenain observed that the first phase of the project was set to be operational by June 2016. He, however, pointed out that there could be some unexpected delays which might be caused by issues beyond the control of the project management. “We are trying to finish it on time. There could be three major obstacles which can delay the work. If the team that is now in charge of the work, is not able to get their acts together on time, it can be a big problem. Similarly, if the contractors are not meeting targets after they are awarded the contracts, it can be an obstacle. Finally if any changes are suggested by the end user, then there can be a delay. But we are still confident, that we will be able to finish it by the set date.”
When complete, the New Port will be equipped to handle the world’s largest ships.
One of the major tasks of the project is the building the harbour’s 8km-long Quay Wall. Upon completion, this earth retaining structure, which will shape the harbour and enable ships to berth, will include over 35,000 concrete blocks, each weighing between 37 and 96 tonnes.
The official spoke to the journalists on the sidelines of a site visit organised for some diplomats and the media recently. Diplomats of South Korea, Singapore, Greece and Germany were briefed about the progress of the ongoing work and opportunities available in the project. Gulf Times