South Africa has lauded Qatar’s transportation-related projects, particularly the new Hamad Port, which, according to ambassador Saad Cachalia, is expected to boost bilateral relations between the two countries.
Cachalia said the Hamad Port and the Doha Metro project were among the projects discussed in a recent meeting with HE the Minister of Transport and Communications Jassim Seif Ahmed al-Sulaiti.
“More importantly, what we talked about was the new Hamad Port. For us, that is very important because cargo ships from South Africa can now go straight to Doha; it makes the transfer of goods between our two countries very convenient and easy,” Cachalia told Gulf Times. “The meeting basically was to reaffirm our commitment to Qatar as far as transport is concerned and its relation to the World Cup and other legacy projects. We want to heighten cooperation and at the end of the day, sign an agreement on cooperation between our two countries,” he said.
Aside from enhancing bilateral trade, Cachalia also said the meeting focused on South Africa’s “commitment to cooperating with Qatar in all areas of transport.”
“What the minister was saying was that South Africa could cooperate with Qatar in a number of issues,” he noted.
Citing South Africa’s passenger rail project, the country’s legacy infrastructure when it hosted the World Cup in 2010, Cachalia said the meeting also touched on “cooperation and sharing of ideas and issues” on the Doha Metro project.
“The Doha Metro project is an excellent one and it would make travel convenient considering the number of vehicles in the roads. Also, the metro stations are well connected and they are near the places of work, the airport, leisure, shopping, and entertainment.
“In terms of cooperation, we can share our expertise if there would be any snags or challenges in the operations of the metro project,” he said.
According to Cachalia, the Doha Metro project “will ease congestion and travel time for many people because these trains are high-speed.” He said the metro rail in South Africa is “fully-utilised” by students, employees, and the wider commuting public.
“It is good for the population and it appeals to all branches of the society; and because they work on a set timetable, people can organise their daily activities so you know when you get to the station, you’ll be getting on the train on time,” he said.
Cachalia also described air transport between South Africa and Qatar as “excellent,” citing Qatar Airways’ flights to Durban, Cape Town, and Johannesburg.
“Now that Qatar Airways is flying to three destinations in South Africa, it will be convenient for a lot of students from Qatar who are studying in aeronautics colleges in South Africa, and we’ve seen an increase in the number of these students.
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