Companies operating out of Doha Port are yet to receive a formal notice from port or customs authorities on the start of general cargo operations at the new Hamad Port on October 15, inquiries have found.
In an advertisement released to local newspapers on October 4, the Ministry of Transport and Communications announced "the start of operations on general cargo and the movement from Doha Port to Hamad Port as of October 15, 2016".
"Therefore, the Ministry has completed the second movement for cargo in preparation for the full operation according to the schedule dates," the announcement added.
The manager of a freight company told Gulf Times on Wednesday that roll-on and roll off (Ro-Ro) and bulk freight, including container operation, have already moved out of Doha Port.
Asked when other companies operating at Doha Port will shift operations to the new port, he said: “We have not received any official letter from port or customs officials […] the only information we have got about the transfer was from the newspaper advertisement.”
He added: “If they have offices there, they can move. No issues. All companies will exist in the same place only. A few agents have offices inside the port. But what facilities they are providing in the new port, we don't know, and we didn't have any meeting with port authorities. They did not call for any meeting.”
However, he said because the opening of the new Hamad Port has already been advertised in the media, they are expecting the authorities to “officially release a notice or some form of communication to move out from Doha Port to the new one.”
According to him operations at the Doha Port cannot come to an abrupt stop. "You cannot close the gate even for just one day, so, I guess when operations will be transferred to the new port it will be done in a phased manner."
He also felt the opening of the new Hamad Port will help increase efficiency in operations. "Obviously, there will be no congestion at all at the new port and we can engage with more space and facilities, gantry cranes, and faster operations. The capacity of the Hamad Port is 10 times the capacity of the Doha Port; hence, we expect an increase in efficiency in port operations,” he said.
During the welcome ceremony for Hamad Port’s first vessel in July 2015, HE the Minister of Transport and Communications Jassim Seif Ahmed al-Sulaiti said the new facility is expected to handle more than 6mn containers a year once all three phases of the project is completed.
The Transport Minister, who is also the chairman of the Hamad Port Steering Committee, explained that Phase 1 of the project was expected to be completed by the end of 2016, allowing Hamad Port to handle 2mn containers.
“After the completion of Phase 1 by 2016, the volume would be 2mn containers, which is a huge quantity. By the time we complete the second and third phases, there would be more than 6mn containers handled by the port.
“Shipping volumes will double once all phases of the port project are completed, allowing us to achieve operations never done before in the country such as direct shipment,” al-Sulaiti stressed.
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