New shipping routes opened

Hamad Port director Abdul Aziz Nasser al-Yafei has announced the inauguration of two new shipping routes linking Qatar with vital ports in a number of countries, including China, Turkey and Greece.

Both new routes, the China Gulf Express Service and the East Mediterranean Service, will be operated on a weekly basis, the Ministry of Transport and Communications (MoTC) has said in a statement.
The China Gulf Express Service will connect Shanghai in China with Hamad Port, with designated stops at Ningbo (China), Kaohsiung (Taiwan), Xiamen (China), Shekou (China) and Port Klang (Malaysia) en route to Qatar. A single ship will ply this route and have a capacity of 6,000 containers, including 400 reefer containers, according to the MoTC.

The East Mediterranean Service will link Qatar with Turkey and Greece. It will be serviced with four ships, with a total capacity of 6,000 containers, including 400 reefer containers. Ports to be covered by this service are Mersin (Turkey), Istanbul (Turkey), Tekirdag (Turkey), Canakkale (Turkey), Piraeus (Greece), Iskenderun (Turkey) and Salalah (Oman) before reaching Hamad Port in Qatar. The ships will then continue their journey to Sohar (Oman) and Mundra (India), the MoTC said.

Speaking at a press conference yesterday, al-Yafei said he expected Hamad Port to receive more than 1,000 vessels by the end of this year and about 1mn TEUs (twenty-foot equivalent unit) in the same period, the official Qatar News Agency (QNA) reported.

The new route (China Gulf Express Service) inaugurated yesterday is the second direct link between Shanghai and Doha, he added.
He stressed that the new lines are an important addition aimed at enhancing the functioning of Hamad Port and its competitiveness, adding that more shipping lines would be announced in the coming period, QNA said.

Further, the official observed that Hamad Port is an important part of the system of regional and global ports, especially as most ports in the region have reached their capacity. Work is under way to make Hamad Port a major point for re-exports, he noted.

Al-Yafei said the new lines would bring economic benefits for the country, especially as China is the largest source of goods to nations around the world. The direct lines with China would help increase the volume of exports destined for Qatar, which included all types of goods and products, he continued.

He highlighted the port’s commitment to providing all necessary facilities to companies, adding that it was ready to receive all types of shipments from different parts of the world.
Hamad Port has been making economic gains since it started functioning and seen the launch of some 15 direct lines till date, which contribute to reducing costs and shortening the travel time, the official points out. This is in the interest of importers whose goods have arrived directly from the ports of origin to Qatar without the need for intermediate ports.

He also said Hamad Port, which includes three major container terminals with a capacity of 7.5mn TEUs per year, will play a major role in covering domestic needs of goods as well as contributing to the needs of all countries in the region.

Part of the port’s strategy is to acquire 35% of the total Middle East trade next year and is rapidly following up on this – driven by its strategic location and potential as well as the facilities it provides to companies, al-Yafei added.