The Doha Port will be converted to a cruise ship terminal when the New Port at Mesaieed becomes operational in 2016, a senior official told Gulf Times.
“The Doha Port is in an advantageous position to become a cruise ship terminal on many counts,” director Captain Abdulla al-Khanji explained during a site visit of the New Port Project. Given that it is very close to the city, next to the Islamic Museum of Art as well as Souq Waqif and other attractions, the Doha Port will give easy access to tourists to many of the areas, he pointed out.
“A market study and assessment will be conducted regarding cruise ship services to various countries. Discussions are to be held with the other authorities concerned before launching the services,” al-Khanji stated. Tim Verdon, vice president and programme director of the New Port Project, pointed out that presently there were only very few cruise ships harboured at Doha Port.
“Many of the cruise ships now tend to go to Dubai. There is a master plan for Doha which includes a cruise ship terminal. Once it becomes a reality, the Doha Port will be more of a tourist destination with Souq Waqif and other attractions nearby.” Al-Khanji observed that the Doha Port had reached its maximum capacity, at almost 70,000 containers per year. The increasing trade volume has highlighted the necessity of the need to complete the New Port at the earliest. This is essential for meeting many of the needs of the country and to shift all the commercial activities.
“The works on the New Port are progressing on schedule and we expect the opening in 2016. Then the entire commercial activities will be shifted to the New Port as it can handle about two million containers annually,” he added.