Sajjad Ahmed Khan, a Doha resident, said that the Gulf crisis came as a real test for Qatar-based companies. “It was a survival of the fittest,” he said during Qatar Urdu Radio’s live show Haqeeqat.
“The companies that survived despite the blockade were the ones based in Qatar and had established links over a long period of time, while companies with short-term goals such as those that came to Doha after the 2008 financial crisis from Dubai could not survive,” Khan asserted.
A senior manager of sales and marketing at Gulf Incon, Khan said that prior to the siege, almost 85% of imports to Qatar came from Jebel Ali port in UAE, while many food items were received from Saudi Arabia.
But in a single most defining moment all sea, land and air routes were shut down and with it Jebel Ali was closed for business as well.
“There was panic in the initial stages, risks were to be analysed, and the first challenge was to find a way to get our containers out of Jebel Ali,” Khan recalled. “There was zero communication or information about the containers that were stuck in the UAE so we had to take help from other channels, and among them Oman played a great role.”
UAE was imposing hefty fines on the containers stuck at the Jebel Ali port.
Khan also praised Qatar’s action plan to deal with the situation by setting up a committee during the period.
“The committee analysed the extra hefty fines and helped businesses to bring back their containers by assisting them in the payment of penalty charges. As our representative, Qatar Chamber helped everyone each step of the way.” He added that the opening of Doha port at an apt time and new shipping routes normalised trading and logistics in the country.
Speaking about international partners, Khan said the Gulf crisis had also created insecurity among the US- and UK-based companies that have businesses all over the GCC.