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Hamad Port

Qatar’s Hamad Port will begin an expansion soon, after QR2 billion worth of contracts were recently awarded, the government said this week.

The Ministry of Transport and Communications (MOTC) tweeted about the new contracts yesterday. It said they were for the second stage of works on the port.

But they did not give further details about the companies who were awarded the deal or the timeline for development.

Translation: Contracts awarded for QR2 billion for the first part of the second phase of #HamadPort.

The announcement follows more than a week of sea blockades by the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain.

The action has disrupted shipments into and out of Qatar, which previously trans-shipped at the UAE port of Jebel Ali.

Shipping lines and Qatar authorities have responded by launching new routes via Sohar and Salalah in Oman.

The MOTC also announced yesterday the start of what it called the Qatar-India Express Service.

This will link Hamad Port with the Indian ports of Mundra and Nhava Sheva, which is near Mumbai and is India’s largest container port.

Expansion plans

The QR27 billion Hamad Port, which is south of Doha in Umm Al-Houl near Mesaieed, was always planned to be developed in phases.

It started accepting commercial vessels in December 2015 and its first phase became fully operational a year later.



It will be expanded in three stages, which will reach completion by 2020 – 10 years earlier than initially scheduled.

By then, it will have three terminals with enough capacity to handle six million containers a year.

And 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.

This will triple the port’s current capacity of around 2 million containers a year.

During the month of May, the Port handled nearly 46,000 containers, nearly 50,000 tons of general cargo and more than 100,000 heads of livestock, according to Qatar Ports Management Company Mwani.

New India route

The recent Gulf dispute has disrupted the import of goods to Qatar by sea.

Authorities have been trying to find new routes to the country, particularly for importing food.

The MOTC yesterday announced a weekly service would begin between Qatar and the west Indian ports of Mundra and Nhava Sheva, which will expand trade routes with Asia.


Flag of India for illustrative purposes only.

Two ships – the Hansa Magdeburg and the Hansa Duburg – will make the weekly trips, arriving at Hamad Port every Friday and departing the following day.

The ministry did not say when this service would start.

However, it could be as early as today.

According to ship-tracking website Vessel Finder, the Duburg was yesterday located just off the coast of Doha, having left Nhava Sheva on June 11.

The first shipment arriving in Qatar “will have 710 containers with readiness to receive larger shipments as needed,” the ministry said in the announcement on its website.

Other ships

Other ships have also been docking at Hamad Port in recent days, bringing in food, livestock and other cargo.

The Sao Paulo, carrying a Liberian flag, arrived in port on Wednesday, port operator Mwani said.

This is in addition to the launch of a new route between Qatar and Sohar and Salalah in Oman.

Danish shipping company Maersk Line announced on June 10 that it would lay on feeder ships to connect Qatar with Oman, where goods would be transshipped (transferred from one ship to another) to locations outside the Gulf.

The first ship will leave Salalah on June 19, and is due to arrive in Qatar a week later, on June 26, it said.


Note: this article was edited to correctly reflect the value of the contracts was QR2 billion, not $2 billion as previously reported.

Qatar limo companies working illegally with Uber, Careem put on notice

Qatar’s Ministry of Transport and Communications has given taxi and limousine companies that use online apps to find passengers 30 days to properly register with the government or risk legal action, according to a public notice.

It’s not clear if the ministry is targeting Uber and Careem – both of which are named in the notice – themselves, or the local limo and taxi companies that supply it with cars and drivers. It’s the latest local blow to Uber, which is still engaged in a labor dispute with drivers in Qatar. When contacted by Doha News, Uber declined comment and Careem said it’s “working closely with relevant authorities.”

For illustrative purposes only


For illustrative purposes only

Qatar’s state postal service has launched a new service that will allow shoppers to buy items online and get them delivered directly to their homes or to a “smart locker.”

Announcing the new “Connected by Qatar Post” service, the organization also said it is planning doorstep drone delivery for some packages.

The shop and ship service is similar to Dubai-based Aramex, though appears to be considerably more expensive.

The first phase of the new drone service should start in three months, QNA reported.

During a signing of a memorandum of understanding with the Ministry of Transport and Communications yesterday, Q-Post‘s chairman and managing director Faleh Al-Naemi said a second phase will be rolled out by October.

However, no details were provided about either phase. In a statement, Al-Naemi said:

“Such a program will help us reach out to all our people and revolutionize the way we serve Qatar with faster, environmental-friendly and reliable delivery services.”

What’s offered

The new, home-grown e-commerce service was first mentioned by Al -Naemi last October and at that time had been called “Ship 2-Q”.

Under the new system, customers can rent postal addresses, initially in the UK and USA, and buy items online that can be sent to these locations.

Photo for illustrative purposes only.

Tim Reckmann/Flickr

Photo for illustrative purposes only.

Packages will then get forwarded on to them in Qatar – either directly to their homes, to one of 30 post office branches in the country or to a smart locker.

These lockers will be in locations across the country, and will be open round-the-clock, Al-Naemi said.

Q-Post has not given updated details of the lockers’ locations, but Al Naemi previously said they would be in shopping malls, residential neighborhoods and university campuses.

How it works

The new service should make it easier for residents to shop online and get goods delivered to Qatar – particularly from outlets that don’t ship to this country.

Q-Post will be competing with Aramex, which offers private shop-and-ship facilities, though customers usually have to collect their parcels from an Aramex outlet.

Photo for illustrative purposes only.


Photo for illustrative purposes only.

Shoppers can sign-up to Q-post’s new system online, which will give them a mailing address in the US or UK.

Addresses in Japan and China will follow “soon,” Q-Post said on the website of the new service.

With lifetime membership, shoppers can buy goods online using the overseas address as a shipping location.

The items can be stored in a warehouse for up to 21 days, allowing shoppers to bundle together a number of parcels to minimize shipping costs.

Q-Post said it aims to get parcels delivered “within five to eight working days” and has an online tracking system.

Parcels can be up to 1.5m in length and the maximum length plus girth cannot be more than 3m.

Shipping costs

Q-Post has a different fee structure from Aramex, though both charge an initial “lifetime” membership fee.

However, according to the Peninsula, Q-Post will waive its QR99 fee (Aramex costs QR164) and also give 30 percent off on the base charge for a customer’s first shipment.

According to Q-post’s website, delivery charges will be based on the weight of the package.

Photo for illustrative purposes only.


Photo for illustrative purposes only.

There’s a minimum charge of QR129.60 for the first item up to 500g, plus an additional fee of QR4.6 per 100g thereafter, for goods shipped from the US.

Items from the UK cost QR133.25 for the first package plus QR2.9 per extra 100g.

Q-Post’s basic fee for a parcel up to half-a-kilo is around three times the price of that charged by private rival Aramex (QR43 plus a QR10 inspection fee).

A 2kg parcel posted from the UK to Qatar would cost QR158 with Aramex, but QR176.75 with the new Q-Post system.

But the fee structure for heavier packages is different, with Q-Post charging per 100g while Aramex bases its costs in 500g increments.

And with Q-Post there is no base-rate charge for second and subsequent packages, which are charged according to the total weight of the delivery – making it cheaper for customers to bundle multiple parcels together in one consignment.


Al-Naemi has previously said that Q-Post would play a central role in the country’s expanding e-commerce market, which is expected to grow to US$2.2 billion by 2019, up from $1.2 billion last year.

The launch of the new service comes amid a broader e-commerce strategy in Qatar to introduce more competition, which would lower prices and improve service.

Despite the sector’s rapid growth, only 14 percent of Qatar’s residents shop online compared to a regional average of 27 percent, according to ictQatar.

Would you use the new service? Thoughts?

Note: This article has been corrected to state the actual costs of a 2kg shipment from the UK to Qatar.