06 Sep 2017 – 2:55

Hamad Port handles 27% of regional trade: Al Sulaiti

Minister of Transport and Communications H E Jassim bin Saif Al Sulaiti addressing a press conference.

The Peninsula

The Minister of Transport and Communications H E Jassim bin Saif Al Sulaiti has said that Hamad Port currently handles 27 percent of the regional trade in the Middle East. “Hamad port aims to acquire about 35 percent of the regional trade share after the completion of all its phases,” the minister said while addressing a press conference held on the sidelines of the official inauguration of the port.
Al Sulaiti considered the inauguration of the project as a new addition to the State of Qatar and a major support for the national economy, saying that since the pilot opening of Hamad Port, there has been a rapid implementation of many associated projects which enabled the port to acquire that proportion of trade in the Middle East in a short period.
He pointed out that the port is currently hosting one of the largest commercial vessels in the world, from China, carrying about 1,500 containers on board. Some 750 containers will be unloaded in Qatar, and the rest will be re-exported to neighboring countries, he added, stressing that Hamad Port now receives almost all the State of Qatar’s basic needs of the goods.
The Minister said that Hamad Port made a great achievement by providing an opportunity for the private sector to participate in this huge project, pointing that the private sector’s contribution reached 60 percent of the total value of the tenders made to implement this major development project, i.e. more than QR 10bn.
He noted that private sector participation was not limited to construction operations but also extended to the actual operation of the port as it was managed by QTerminals company, a joint venture between Mwani Qatar (51 percent) and Milaha Maritime & Logistics (49 percent). The minister stated that, in addition to the port’s potential, it is also equipped with world-class technology for the clearance of transactions related to goods, pointing that its is an added advantage that supports the Port’s position in international trade.
He also noted that the port is equipped with accurate inspection devices, which enables the inspection of goods without human effort, putting Hamad Port among the world’s largest in terms of the number and quality of the equipment fitted to ensure fast and efficient service of containers and cargoes.
He stressed that the presence of a large number of ministers and officials from friendly countries at the port inauguration ceremony reflects the international attention to this project and the desire of those countries in economic cooperation with the State of Qatar as well as the prospects of supporting trade ties that could be provided by this project to Qatar with its trading partners.
The Minister explained that the total cost of all the stages of Hamad Port project is about QR27.5bn. He expected all the project stages to be completed in 2021, including a number of construction works. “Most of the contracts for the second phase had been awarded to competent companies, pointing that about 80 percent of the project as a whole had been completed.”
Among the most prominent projects that will be at Hamad Port is the construction of buildings and warehouses for food security, the minister said, explaining that the project will be constructed on an area of approximately 53 hectares (530,000 square meters) and will contain manufacturing, conversion and refining facilities for rice, raw sugar and edible oils. These products will be available for local, regional and international use.
He stressed that this project will represent a qualitative leap for the State of Qatar and the national economy, where no human intervention is involved either in the storage or re-export operations, which allows the end user to obtain excellent and guaranteed food quality that is under the control of all concerned bodies in the State.
The CEO of Mwani Qatar, Captain Abdulla Al Khanji, said that the port is an addition to the Qatari economy for its contribution to improving the country’s competitiveness and achieving economic diversification to serve the objectives of Qatar National Vision 2030, as well as its role in placing Qatar on the map of the maritime transport industry by receiving the largest ships in the world, and providing facilities in the procedures and laws and the free economic zone so that there is an integrated system of services to attract giant vessels.
He stressed that the priorities of Mwani Qatar are to secure the needs of the State by reaching Doha directly and without resorting to alternative ports, in addition to receiving goods that are re-exported by targeting markets in neighboring countries, pointing out that there are countries which requested to receive their goods through Hamad port.
He pointed out that Qatar was able to receive 40 percent of the goods coming to Doha directly through Hamad Port without any restrictions or complications, while the remaining 60 percent is received through alternative ports such as Sohar and Salalah in Oman and others in India, Pakistan, Turkey and Kuwait, adding that there are new direct shipping lines to be announced this year, notably Malaysia, Taiwan and others.
The Executive Director of the new port project, Mayser Jameel Al Qatami, explained that Hamad Port represents a qualitative leap for the Qatari economy through its diversity and support to the needs of the country and an increase in the volume of trade exchange between Qatar and the world, as well as its strategic and geographic location, and the possibility of expansion in the future as well as linking the new port with a modern road network currently under construction which is due to be completed soon.
Al Qatami added that the port has easily accommodated the large increase in materials and products demands, because the first station of the port has a capacity of 2 million containers, which makes the port able to meet all the needs of the state.
The Head of Security Systems at Hamad Port, Major Engineer Ali Hassan Al Rashed said that the security systems in the port are divided into two parts, the first works on securing the port with a smart system and the second secures the goods and containers coming to the port, which contributed to making major achievements and innovations and enabled the port to obtain 5 international certificates in security systems. He stressed that the port is considered to be one of the best ports in the world in terms of speed in the inspection of containers within one day, reaching a capacity of 24,000 containers. He pointed out that the security inspection takes only three seconds per container and that it can detect any kind of prohibited materials.