Dancing water fountains, daytime fireworks and a military band’s rendition of the national anthem marked the official opening of Hamad Port this week.
The QR27 billion facility began operations a year ago, but was inaugurated by the Emir yesterday.
The port has become increasingly important to Qatar in recent months, helping the nation circumvent a three-month long air, land and sea blockade by its neighbors.
According to Reuters, Qatar’s transport minister said the facility would “break the shackles of any restrictions imposed on our economy.”
In a statement, Jassim Seif Ahmed al-Sulaiti continued:
“Hamad Port is improving Qatar’s competitiveness by transforming it into a regional business center, which, in turn, will establish sustainable development for generations to come.
“We have proven beyond any doubt how much we are flexible but steadfast when it comes to facing challenges without compromising our values, traditions and ambitions.”
Hamad Port is already one of the largest in the region. But it is now in the process of a QR5 billion expansion.
When completed by 2020 or 2021, the port is slated to have three terminals with enough capacity to handle 7.5 million containers a year.
That’s nearly quadruple its current capacity of 2 million containers.
Meanwhile, the former Doha Port near the Museum of Islamic Art is being redeveloped into a cruise terminal to receive tourists.