Boston, MA -- (SBWIRE) -- 08/16/2012 -- The Qatari shipping sector continues to be dominated by the export of the country's key commodity, natural gas, through the export terminal of Ras Laffan. Much of this is carried by national carrier Nakilat. However, the country is looking to increase its container and dry bulk shipping presence as well, through the development of the New Doha Port, which seems to be being developed with an eye towards capturing some lucrative transhipment trade.
Work on the new port is progressing, and over the last quarter a contract was awarded to the Middle East Dredging Company (MEDCO) to dredge the approach channel and other tenders are being awarded. We forecast moderate growth in port throughput in Qatar over the mid term.
Headline Industry Data
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- 2012 Port of Doha container throughput forecast to grow 6.1%, and to average 3.7% per annum to 2016 (including transferred operations to New Doha from 2015).
- 2012 Port of Doha total tonnage throughput forecast to expand by 6.7% to 8.31mn tonnes, and to average 4.1% per annum over our forecast period (including transferred operations to New Doha from 2015).
- 2012 total trade growth forecast at 6.0%, and to average 1.3% over our forecast period as gas prices fall.
Key Industry Trends
Port Of Doha Pushes Forward Despite Fierce Competition
The Middle East Dredging Company (MEDCO) has been awarded a US$1.23bn contract to dredge the approach channel for the world's largest greenfield port development project, to replace the Doha Port in Qatar. BMI believes that a new maritime facility is crucial in order for the country to sustain its spectacular infrastructure drive. However, we are wary of the initiative's success, as the region is already populated by major transshipment hubs.
UASC Joins The Big League And Links Asia To The Middle East With Mega Vessels
The United Arab Shipping Company (UASC) continues to expand, adding the third of nine 13,470 twenty-foot equivalent unit (TEU) ships to its fleet. Due to the ordering boom in 2008, a number of new mega vessels are due online in 2012, resulting in overcapacity in the sector. With demand declining, this places negative pressure on rates. UASC's mega vessel plan differs from that of other lines, with the company set to use some of its new fleet to connect Asia and the Middle East.
Milaha Implements New TOS At Qatar Port
Qatar-based Milaha has installed a new terminal operating system (TOS), Jade TOS, at the Port of Doha in Qatar in April. The move is designed to increase annual throughput at the terminal to 750,000TEUs from 400,000TEUs. It is also aimed at enhancing productivity and efficiency through centralised berthing, vessel and yard planning, as well as container handling equipment control. However, the port authority claims that the new TOS will not resolve the problem of limited capacity.
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