The $7.4bn Hamad Port, which was officially inaugurated Tuesday, is expected to take more than 35% of the region’s trade in the next two years, Qatar’s transport minister has said.
Spanning almost 30,000 square kilometres, Hamad Port has taken 27% of the region’s trade since its initial operations in December 2015, HE the Minister of Transport and Communications Jassim Seif Ahmed al-Sulaiti said.
“We are very proud because Hamad Port is now taking 27% from the commerce of the entire region, which is a very big target. We never thought we are taking this much volume in Hamad Port; and this is a testament of Hamad Port’s success.
“In the next two years, Hamad Port is expected to take more than 35% of trade in the region,” al-Sulaiti told Gulf Times on the sidelines of the inauguration ceremony, which was led by His Highness the Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani.
Speaking before HH the Emir and other state and foreign dignitaries, al-Sulaiti lauded the private sector’s role in the construction and operation of the Hamad Port, which is situated in the Umm Al Houl area south of Doha.
“The private sector took over 60% of the value of all tenders announced for the execution of this megaproject, which exceeds QR10bn. Moreover, the private sector will have a major portion of the construction works of the second phase of the port with projects reaching QR5bn to be completed and delivered between 2020 and 2021.
“The private sector’s participation has not stopped there. Rather, it has gone beyond the normal convention of construction and building to its participation in port operations through operations management company QTerminals. This helps enrich the sector’s spirit of investment and localises applied expertise and technology, adding value to our national economy,” al-Sulaiti said.
The transport minister also noted that Hamad Port “provides a role model for how the directives of HH the Emir are being executed in supporting the private sector and promoting its contribution to the development process countrywide.”
Citing recent challenges in the country, al-Sulaiti said Qatar has proven to be “flexible but steadfast… without compromising out values, traditions and ambitions.”
“We have all reason today to keep our heads up, given the amount of difficulties we have overcome and the challenges we have faced. Today, we are stronger and more determined with even more options at hand,” he said.
Asked about Hamad Port’s role in Qatar’s food security measures amid the economic blockade, which had already entered its third month, al-Sulaiti said: “HH the Emir has given us instructions since day one of the economic blockade, which is why all Qataris and other nationalities living in Qatar have no reason to worry because the government has always been on top of the situation.”
He added: “This was HH the Emir’s project and the port was part of his vision to make the state of Qatar competitive in terms of trade and economic relations with sisterly and friendly countries. The official inauguration of Hamad Port is a big step for the Ministry of Transport and Communications and for the entire country.”
HE the Minister of Transport and Communications Jassim Seif Ahmed al-Sulaiti engages with the media during a press conference held after the official opening of Hamad Port. PICTURE: Jayan Orma