On Tuesday, the Emir of Qatar, designated Qatar’s largest sea gateway, the Hamad Port, open for business.
Despite having been operational since December last year, the Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, officially inaugurated the country’s largest and main sea access, the Hamad Port in Umm Al Houl, south of Doha, on Tuesday.
The $7.4 billion port is the largest of its kind the Middle East, and provides Qatar access routes to and from more than 150 destinations around the world.
Covering a total area of 28.5 square kilometres, Hamad Port is able to accommodate all types of sea vessels, regardless of size, weight and cargo. Designed for efficiency and reliability, the port is able to load/unload an average of 30 containers per hour and can have a shipment unloaded and handed over to an importer in just 20 minutes.
Expected to be completed sometime between 2020 and 2021, the port’s general cargo terminal has the capacity to hold 1.7 million tons per year and a grain storage capable of holding 1 million tons of cereal.
With an overall capacity of 7.6 million containers, Hamad Port has received more than 470,000 tons of general cargo, 407,000 livestock units, 449,000 tons of building material and 400,000 tons of equipment and vehicles within the first half of 2017 alone.
A customs inspection area, a 110 meters-high observation tower and a ship inspection platform, as well as facilities such as warehouses, mosques, restrooms and medical centers are also part of the complex.
While there’s blockage on regular sea routes to and from the country, the port will operate through new routes connecting Qatar to Sohar and Salalah Ports in Oman, Shuwaikh Port in Kuwait, Karachi Port in Pakistan, Izmir Port in Turkey as well as Mundra and Nhava Sheva Ports in India, according to Qatar News Agency.
Doha Port, the country’s main port until now, will be renovated into a terminal for international cruise ships.