Qatar Port Management Company (Mwani) and Milaha will establish a new joint venture 'QTerminals' to manage the QR27bn Hamad Port, which is not only set to become a regional commercial hub but also greatly reduce transportation costs and time.
Mwani and Milaha will have 51% and 49% stake respectively in QTerminals, an independent company with its own board of directors, executives and staff. However, details regarding the capital structure of the new venture were not disclosed.
Mwani chief executive Captain Abdulla al-Khanji and Milaha president and chief executive Abdulrahman Essa al-Mannai inked the agreement in the presence of Minister of Transport and Communications HE Jassim Saif Ahmed al-Sulaiti and Milaha chairman Sheikh Ali bin Jassim bin Mohamed al-Thani.
“We are confident the new company, established collaboratively by two of Qatar’s leading corporations, will contribute to leveraging the country’s competitiveness among world economies,” said al-Sulaiti, who is also the chairman of Mwani.
The partnership is a role model for the Qatari private sector to contribute to transportation projects, going beyond prevalent partnerships in building and construction, and ushering in a new era of real operational processes that will help enrich the private sector investment, he added.
Hamad Port would be contributing to increasing Qatar’s imports, exports and international maritime trade and would stimulate growth and economic diversification across the region, al-Sulaiti said, adding "Qatar would be positioned to become a regional commercial hub and would be well on the road to achieving the objectives of the Qatar National Vision 2030."
Milaha had earlier put in the bid to manage the port through its port services arm, which now manages Doha Port, the main commercial port in Qatar.
Sheikh Ali said Hamad Port, which is one the world’s largest port development projects, would herald a new era of uniqueness and pioneering in commercial port development in Qatar and the wider region.
According to a study by A T Kearney, ports in the Gulf Co-operation Council (GCC) have witnessed "explosive" growth over the past three decades. The GCC ports have been through the launch and rapid growth phases on several unique global and regional factors, it said, adding the age-old trade route between East and West is one factor.
More than 16% of the world’s container traffic flows between Europe and Asia, allowing the GCC ports to capitalise on the thriving global shipping business, it said, adding demand for international trade coupled with the existing global ports network is another factor in the GCC’s marine transport boom.
“We are confident the new company, established collaboratively by two of Qatar’s leading corporations, will contribute to leveraging the country’s competitiveness among world economies,” al-Sulaiti said.
Hamad Port represents a significant addition to Qatar’s maritime infrastructure and will have a handling capacity of 7mn twenty-foot equivalent unit (TEU) a year after completing all the phases. It will also be connected to GCC countries through a road and rail network.
The first phase of Hamad Port will become fully operational from Thursday, taking the annual handling capacity to 2mn TEU from the 0.75mn TEU capacity at the existing port, which will be closed to commercial vessel traffic from December 1 although it will continue to receive cruise ships for some time.
When completed, Hamad Port will include a customs inspection area for rapid cargo clearance, a uniquely designed port Control Tower at a height of 110m, a ship inspection platform and multiple maritime facilities, in addition to other utilities such as storage units, mosques, rest areas, medical clinics and the offices required for port operation.
Hamad Port -- situated next to the Um Al-Houl economic zone which is equipped with the latest infrastructure and is served by a dedicated industrial canal -- consists of a new container port, naval base and a special economic zone.