(MENAFN - Gulf Times) Topnotch infrastructure in Qatar's maritime sector has played a significant role in positioning the country among the world's leading hubs for local and foreign trade flows, according to a top official of leading maritime transport and logistics conglomerate, Milaha.
Speaking to The Oil & Gas Year (TOGY) in its ‘The Oil & Gas Year Qatar 2019' report, Milaha president and CEO Abdulrahman Essa al-Mannai said: 'Qatar's maritime has grown significantly over the past decade, not just the last couple of years.
'We now have a truly world-class infrastructure in place that not only enables smooth import and export trade for Qatar, but also increasingly enables Qatar to become a hub for regional and international trade flows.
Al-Mannai reported that the state-of-the-art Hamad Port seamlessly handled more than 1.3mn teus in 2018, which was an increase of over 200% from pre-blockade levels.
'QTerminals, which operates Hamad Port and is jointly owned by Mwani Qatar and Milaha, now handles trans-shipment cargo for other parts of the region, particularly the Upper Gulf, he noted.
According to al-Mannai, the development of free zones around Hamad Port and Hamad International Airport will further enhance Qatar's infrastructure and increase its attractiveness for new investors across a number of manufacturing and service sectors.
'The infrastructure is definitely in place to create a more robust and sustainable trade and industrial ecosystem for Qatar, al-Mannai emphasised.
Asked about local content measures for the sustainability of shipping and logistics, al-Mannai stressed that the maritime and logistics sectors are critical to Qatar's economic ambitions, from both an import and export perspective.
He said sea-borne trade accounts for 99% of imports and exports by volume, and ensuring the sustainability and robustness of the sector is extremely important for Qatar, hence the tremendous efforts by Qatar Petroleum (QP) and others to boost these sectors.
'Maritime includes both the transport element, as well as all the ancillary elements, such as terminals, repair and maintenance, provisioning, fueling, fleet management and anchorage services, amongst others.
'At Milaha, we are naturally expanding our capabilities across the supply chain to strengthen the maritime ecosystem. For example, we created a new Maritime Services Unit within Milaha to focus locally on bringing end-to-end services to ship owners and operators, he said.
Al-Mannai added: 'In the oil and gas space, we are looking closely with our partners, such as QP, to support their end-to-end maritime and ancillary needs. Efforts like Tawteen will help local companies reach critical scale, and provide a platform for them to expand competitively into markets beyond Qatar or the region. This adds further impetus to the economic diversification agenda that is part of Qatar National Vision 2030.