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A rendering of Hamad Port.

New Doha Port Project

A rendering of Hamad Port.

Qatar’s new Hamad Port will officially take charge of commercial shipments entering and leaving the country from Dec. 1, when it becomes fully operational, the government announced.

By the end of this week, all container ships will go to the QR27 billion port in Umm Al-Houl near Mesaieed, as operations at Doha Port wind down.

The old port near the Museum of Islamic Art will be closed to all commercial ships from then.

It will soon start undergoing a QR2 billion overhaul, likely to transform it into a dedicated cruise ship terminal.

However, the Doha Port will continue accepting cruise ships until the end of March before it closes to all vessels, the Ministry of Transport and Communications (MOTC) and the Qatar Ports Management Company (Mwani) said today.

Hamad Port soft-launched last December with its first commercial shipment.

It had received its first ship last July – the heavy load carrier Zhen Hua 10, which was laden with 12 cranes used to unload goods from vessels that dock there.

The new port has been taking cars and livestock since then as it gradually steps up operations ahead of the on-schedule full launch of phase 1 at the end of this week.

Maritime expansion

Hamad Port’s size will permit large container ships to travel directly to Qatar. Previously, they had to dock first in the UAE and transfer cargo to smaller ships.

Hamad Port

MoTC/Twitter

Hamad Port

The port is expected to be fully up and running in 2020, 10 years ahead of schedule.

At that time, Hamad Port will cover a site of around 20 sq km and include three container terminals, with a combined annual capacity in excess of six million containers per year.

Annually, its general cargo terminal will be able to manage:

  • Some 1.7 million tonnes of general goods;
  • Up to 1 million tonnes of food grains; and
  • Half-a-million vehicles.

There will be a dedicated livestock terminal, a multi-use terminal, an off-shore supply base and Coast Guard facilities, the MOTC said in a statement this weekend.

Less traffic on the roads

The new port’s size and facilities should also make it quicker and easier to import raw materials to Qatar.

This is crucial for the completion of the country’s many ongoing infrastructure projects.

Minister of Transport Jassim Seif Ahmed al-Sulaiti

QNA/Instagram

Minister of Transport Jassim Seif Ahmed al-Sulaiti

Speaking last year, Minister of Transport Jassim Seif Ahmed al-Sulaiti said the port would “modernize the way Qatar handles ocean imports and exports, increasing our maritime trade and facilitate growth and diversification of the country’s economy.”

It will also reduce the number of truck journeys on the Corniche near the old port by around 100 a day, officials previously told Doha News.

Heavy vehicles traveling to and from Hamad Port will eventually be diverted away from Doha to use the under-construction Orbital Highway.

Orbital highway and truck route map

Ashghal/Facebook

Orbital highway and truck route map

This will span 189km in total and is being built in four stages.

It will connect Mesaieed and Hamad Port to the south of Doha with Al Rayyan in the west and Ras Laffan and Al Khor in northern Qatar.

The whole Orbital project should be complete by the middle of 2018, according to Ashghal’s website.

But some northern sections should open to traffic by the end of next year, the public works authority previously said.

Thoughts?

Al Zubarah

Mohammed Ismail / Doha News

Al Zubarah

A group of young people from around the world have begun a new conservation project at Al Zubarah, Qatar’s only UNESCO world heritage site.

More than 50 volunteers between 18 and 30 years old – including 12 from Qatar – are carrying out work at the site as part of the World Heritage Volunteers (WHV) program.

The 20-day project is part of UNESCO’s drive to help young people appreciate and respect heritage and cultural diversity.

The UNESCO volunteers at Al Zubarah

Qatar Museums

The UNESCO volunteers at Al Zubarah

On site until Nov. 25, the group will learn about traditional building techniques, how to apply and remove plaster and how to remove weak parts of buildings.

Many other activities are being planned by organizers Qatar Museums (QM), UNESCO and the Qatar Tourism Authority (QTA).

All of the work carried out in the next couple of weeks will help protect the site from harsh desert and coastal conditions, QM said.

Cultural exchange

It added that the volunteers will also engage in “intercultural exchanges” such as storytelling with Qatari citizens, lectures and competitions.

In a statement, QM’s acting CEO said that the scheme was “exciting” and that he was grateful for the volunteers, who he hoped would also benefit from the experience.

QM Acting CEO Mansoor bin Ebrahim Al Mahmoud

Qatar Museums

QM Acting CEO Mansoor bin Ebrahim Al Mahmoud

Mansoor bin Ebrahim Al Mahmoud continued:

“They will learn not only about Qatar’s heritage, but also learn new skills, express new ideas and help to protect and preserve this historical site to the highest standards for future generations of visitors to enjoy.”

This is the first time that QM has participated in the UNESCO volunteer program.

Zubarah’s history

Al Zubarah is a historical coastal town, situated approximately 100km northwest of Doha.

Founded by merchants from Kuwait, Zubarah thrived as a pearling and trading center in the 18th and early 19th centuries. It was then destroyed in 1811 and abandoned in the early 1900s, according to UNESCO.

Al Zubarah fort

Aju George Chris

Al Zubarah fort

Largely protected by a layer of sand, the fortified settlement became Qatar’s first UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2013.

Although Al Zubarah is an extensive archaeological site, only the fort and its visitor’s center are currently open to members of the public.

Thoughts?

Sheikha Al Mayassa

Sally Crane

Sheikha Al Mayassa

Four Qatari leaders in the worlds of business and the arts have been named in a magazine’s latest list of top 50 Arabs in the region.

Middle East Magazine’s rankings include two Qatari women this year: Sheikha Hanadi bint Nasser Al Thani, founder and chairperson of asset management company Amwal; and Qatar Museums (QM) chairperson Sheikha Al Mayassa bint Hamad Al Thani.

They are joined by Qatar Airways CEO Akbar Al Baker and the head of the Qatar Investment Authority (QIA), Sheikh Abdulla bin Mohammed bin Saud Al Thani.

All are prominent figures who are regularly named on lists of the most influential people in the Arab world.

Other leaders

The magazine, whose website appears to be based in the UK, derived its list from reader votes.

All four Qataris also made last year’s index.

But the 2015 Power 50 list also included two others. They were Bader Abdullah Al Darwish, a billionaire whose conglomerate Darwish Holding developed Lagoona Mall; and Omar Hamad Al Mana, founder of Al Mana Group.

Meanwhile, the UAE had 16 leaders named this year, and Saudi Arabia had six.

The index also contains leaders from Algeria, Lebanon, Egypt, Palestine, Morocco, Jordan and Tunisia.

Prince Alaweed bin Talal of Saudi Arabia

Alaweed.com

Prince Alaweed bin Talal of Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia’s business magnate and philanthropist Prince Alaweed bin Talal was the most popular person in the reader-voted list, according to editor Pat Lancaster.

In her introduction to this year’s top 50, Lancaster said:

“Our most voted for contender, HRH Prince Alwaleed, is clearly admired for his business acumen but also for his philanthropy and genuine concern for those less privileged than himself.

He was cited as an ‘entrepreneurial genius’ but – by the same reader – as an ‘admirable Muslim’ who has not ‘lost sight of the charitable teachings of his Islamic faith.'”

Qatar’s leaders

As co-founder and chairperson of Amwal, Qatar’s first regulated investment company, Sheikha Hanadi is regularly named on business power lists.

Sheikha Hanadi bint Nasser bin Khalid Al Thani

Amwal

Sheikha Hanadi bint Nasser bin Khalid Al Thani

She is also deputy chief executive of the Nasser Bin Khaled Al Thani & Sons Group and CEO of Al Wa’ab City Real Estate development project.

Additionally, Sheikha Hanadi has been heavily involved with community projects and is a trustee on the board of the Arab Women’s International Forum as well as chairperson of non-profit youth organization INJAZ Qatar and a board member of INJAZ Al Arab.

Sheikha Al Mayassa is another regular name on regional and global lists of the most influential people in the art world.

Sheikha Mayassa interview on CNNi

Qatar Museums

Sheikha Mayassa interview on CNNi

Reportedly presiding over an art-buying budget of up to $1 billion a year, the chairperson of Qatar Museums is ” responsible for cultivating significant cultural events in the region,” the magazine said.

Her work with NGO Reach Out To Asia (ROTA) and the Doha Film Institute also contributed to her entry in the listings.

Meanwhile, Akbar Al Baker made the top 50 for his role in pushing Qatar Airways to become “one of the fastest growing and most highly acclaimed airlines in the world,” the magazine said.

Akbar Al Baker

Qatar Airways

Akbar Al Baker

It noted that when Al Baker became CEO nearly 20 years ago in 1997, Qatar Airways only had four aircraft. It now operates more than 180 aircraft and flies to over 150 destinations globally.

Meanwhile, the chief executive of Qatar’s sovereign wealth fund, the Qatar Investment Authority (QIA) takes the final of Qatar’s spots in the list.

Sheikh Abdullah bin Mohammed Al Thani

Ooredoo

Sheikh Abdullah bin Mohammed Al Thani

Sheikh Abdulla Al Thani took over the role at the QIA at the end of 2014 and oversees assets worth up to $300 billion, including stakes in Volkswagen Group, Barclays, Credit Suisse and London department store Harrods.

He is also chairman of telecommunications organization Ooredoo.

Thoughts?