Posted on July 17, 2016

The newly developed Hamad Port is helping reduce container ships’ waiting time at Doha Port, unburdening the customs clearance system. With the increasing shipments to the country, Doha Port used to witness a long line of ships waiting for two to three days to dock, according to market sources.

Now, with Hamad Port commencing operations in December last year, it has started sharing the burden of Doha Port, leading to hassle-free off-loading of consignments, said industry sources. Ship movements at Hamad Port jumped more than four times in May compared to April this year, according to the figures released by the Ministry of Transport and Communications. The number of ships which docked at Hamad Port soared from 36 in April to 145 in May this year, an increase of 109 within a month, the data reveals.

Qatar’s ports received 361 ships in April this year, with Ras Laffan port witnessing the highest number of ships docked at 189, which was 52 percent of the total. It was followed by Doha Port with 70 ships (20 percent), Al Ruwais port 58 ships (16 percent), Hamad Port 36 ships (10 percent) and Halul port eight ships (two percent), according to the figures published on at the ministry’s Twitter account. “We noticed significant changes at Doha Port. There are no more hassles. Giant vessels have begun to easily dock and offload at Hamad Port,” said a clearance agent.

There used to be so severe parking problems at Doha Port facility that security officers had stopped distributing entry tokens to the truckers at peak hours due to rush. But now this has become a thing of the past, said the source. “Giant vessels carrying heavy equipment and vehicles and open ships loaded with pipes and building materials like cement, steel, gabbros and chemicals, among others, head to Hamad Port. Ships carrying general goods like foodstuff, garments, footwear, subsidised ration materials and fodders dock at Doha Port.”

“Earlier, almost all types of vessels used to anchor at Doha Port, including those loaded with heavy equipment causing delay for ships during offloading, putting burden on the port management and customs and giving a hard time to agents running from the pillar to the post for clearance,” said the source.

Clearance agents laud govt move

While clearance agents have lauded the steps taken by the government to expedite the system for the clearance of consignments, they urge authorities to speed up customs performance at Doha port. “The government took two major steps launching Al Nadeeb, the single window customs clearance system, and Hamad Port to make Qatar’s customs clearance of international standard,” said an agent. “Now there is no excuse for delaying clearance of containers at Doha Port. Consignments could be cleared in standard time with a little improvement in customs performance,” said an agent.

The policy of customs to clear all containers of a company at a time should be revised. For example, if 20 containers of a company arrive at the port, as per customs policy all trucks loaded with the consignments should be lined up at a time for clearance, said the agent. “I think it would be better to let the trucks pass one by one because lining up all containers for clearance at a time causes delay,” he added.

source: The Peninsula