Posted on September 28, 2015

Qatar's port sector has witnessed healthy growth despite concern about slowdown affecting global trade. Out of Qatar's four ports, three ports have registered a robust growth in cargo movement in the last one year, said The Peninsula. 

In 2014, Doha Port, Mesaieed Port and Haloul Port witnessed growth in cargo movement while Ras Laffan Port witnessed decline, according to the Ministry of Development Planning and Statistics data. Among the four ports, Haloul Port registered highest growth of 16 percent last year. Net tonnage at Haloul Port reached 1.08m tones in December 2014 from 930,162 tons in January same year. Cargo traffic movement in a country reflects health of economy activities. A rising cargo traffic means that economic activities in a country is growing while a persistent declining cargo traffic indicates that it is heading towards economic slowdown. 

Doha Port witnessed a growth of 11 percent last year with net tonnage at the port reaching about 1m tonnes in December 2014 from 900,722 tonnes in January last year. Doha Port receives on average 12 livestock ships and 400 roll-on/roll-off vessels -- which allow automobiles and other cargo with wheels to be driven directly onto the dock - a year, according to the Qatar Port Management. Mesaieed Port registered a growth of 8 percent last year. Net tonnage at the port reached 2.4 tonnes in December 2014 from 2.3m tonnes in January 2014.

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Ras Laffan Port bucked the trend as net tonnage at the port declined during the year. Net tonnage at the port stood at 7.6m tonnes in January last year which decreased to 6.5m tonnes in December 2014. At 56 square kilometres, and with six Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) berths operational, Ras Laffan Port is the largest LNG exporting facility in the world. This year, so far, the momentum in port sector is strong. According to Qatar Monthly Statistics, net tonnage at Doha Port increased to 1.03m tonnes in August this year from 1.02m in July 2015. 

Net tonnage at Haloul Port stood at 951,672 tonnes in August this year from 815,278 tonnes in July 2015. Net tonnage at Ras Laffan Port was seen stable at 7m tones in July and August this year. The port sector of Qatar will see significant capacity expansion in coming years. Hamad Port would increase its handling capacity to 6m TEUs (twenty-foot equivalent units) by 2020. The first phase of the mega project, which is involved installing more pre-cast blocks, is due to open at the end of 2016.

Strategically located south of Doha, the QR27bn megaproject, which includes a new port, a new base for the Qatar Emiri Naval Forces and the Qatar Economic Zone 3, will span a 26.5 square kilometre area.