Hamad Port chief says nothing changed since start of the Gulf crisis but transit port is now Omani instead of Emirati.Qatar’s main commercial port is operating “at full capacity” and the only change has been that the Doha-bound ships were transiting through two Omani ports, rather than the Emirati Jebel Ali port – a regional hub, its head said.
Abdulaziz Nasser Al-Yafei, Hamad Port director, said on Friday that there has not been an increase in traffic since the beginning of the blockade by Saudi Arabia and its allies.
“The only thing that has happened is that the ships in the past were depending on Jebel Ali Port (in Dubai) as a hub port, but now we are cooperating with our brothers in the Sultanate of Oman, and we thank them, of course, for their generous cooperation with us and the quickness of their action,” he said.
Al-Yafei also said that there were plans to increase the port’s capacity, and that they were continuing on schedule.
Qatar depends almost entirely on food imports to feed its more than two million residents. The majority of the imports came through its only land border with Saudi Arabia.
It had been forced to look elsewhere for food since Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt cut ties with Qatar early last month and imposed air, sea, and land blockade against the country.
Qatar has increased imports by air of foodstuffs from Turkey, Iran and China since the crisis began. Turkey also started shipping products to Qatar by sea.
On Friday evening, at least five large ships were docking at Hamad Port, unloading sheep from Australia, food products from Turkey, and a ship carrying cars made in South Korea.
Port officials say that the port received 212 ships in June, and can process 7.5 million containers a year.