Some of the traders who have set up fish stalls at the recently opened market in Umm Slal are exploring the possibility of relocating their establishments to somewhere in Doha or in its immediate neighbourhood in the coming months, it is learnt.

Attributing this to the "disappointing public patronage" of the Umm Slal facility since they started business there nearly 45 days ago, the shop owners said most shops in the market were "hardly receiving" any individual customers.

They say it's mostly fish retailers from Doha who are visiting the market, which is located to the north of the city, for their requirements.

The new facility in Umm Slal opened last month, replacing the fish market in Doha's Abu Hamour.

The shopkeepers have expressed concern over the location, saying the "long distance from most city (Doha) areas" has led to a "considerable fall in business" and they cannot go on like this "indefinitely".

One of them said he has already found space at a new supermarket in a Doha suburb and may shift there once the official procedures are completed.

Traders had raised the issue of "poor patronage" due to the distance factor earlier, too, as reported in Gulf Times shortly after the market opened.

The problem, it seems, continues more than a month later.

Meanwhile, a retailer said as no accommodation was available for his staff in the neighbourhood of the new market, they were still commuting a relative long distance every day. "Besides, there is no restaurant or cafeteria in the area where the market is located," he said.

Transportation costs have also gone up, according to the traders. A stall operator said earlier they used to pay QR30-35 to transport fish to his retail stall in Najma, Doha. "However, now one needs to pay no less than QR90 for one trip as the market is several kilometres away from the city," he added.

Enquiries with some retail stall operators in Doha also revealed that the high transport costs have restricted the number of trips to one per day. Earlier, they would often visit the Doha Central Market in Abu Hamour twice a day for purchases, they said.

Another outlet owner said even if shop rents are higher within Doha, it is better for the business to shift there as they are likely to receive a steady stream of customers. He claimed that some of their old-time regular customers are no longer visiting them at the new market.