Qatar has grand ambitions for shipping.
By the end of 2016, Qatar will have completed the first major phase of the new Doha mega-port project. The price tag? $7.5 billion.
The 2020 completion date for the project will be just in time for the port to receive the raw materials needed for Qatar’s infrastructure projects for the 2022 World Cup. The Doha port will have the capacity to handle 6 million TEU annually, which will make it the second highest capacity port in the Middle East after the Jebel Ali port in Dubai.
Doha will give Dubai a run for its money. According to a new report by Worldfolio, a market intelligence agency, the new port at Doha will pose significant challenges to other ports in the Middle East. Its modern infrastructure and the capacity to support state-of-the-art warehousing and data services will prove to be competition for rival ports such as the ports in Dubai.
Qatar, however, ranks #68 for “ease of doing business” on the World Bank’s 2016 index, far behind the UAE at #31.
The Middle East is already a natural gateway for goods moving to and from Asia, Europe, and North America. In recent years, a number of Gulf Coast countries have invested significant funding into projects that promote free trade and the shipping industry. The region has emerged as a global hub for logistics due to government initiatives to establish new ports, special economic zones, free trade, and open skies policies.
Photo courtesy of Francisco Anzola.