Jan. 21, 2020

Neville Bissett


Neville Bissett

CEO, QTerminals

“The unjust blockade has, in some sense, helped us as the operator of the port because as the borders are closed, everything has to come via sea or air.”


Neville Bissett is CEO of QTerminals, the Qatar-based manager and operator of Phase 1 of Hamad Port. He has a wealth of international experience in port management and terminal operations. Prior to joining QTerminals, he was the general manager of Ports Development Company, the master developer and port authority of King Abdullah Port in Saudi Arabia. Previously, he was managing director of an AP Moeller Terminals/Bolloré joint venture in West Africa and, while with Hutchison Port Holdings, CEO of Alexandria International Container Terminals, in addition to being CEO of Tanzania International Container Terminals. He has also held other senior management roles in the Middle East, Africa, South America, the Caucasus, and Europe.

Can you tell us more about your main milestones in the past year?
Since the start of operations, we have handled more than 3 million TEUs and over 7 million tons of general cargo. This is a significant milestone considering that we have only been in operation for just under three years. This demonstrates that business going through Hamad Port is robust. Roughly 93% of all cargo that comes into Qatar moves through Hamad Port. We were able to hit these milestones relatively quickly, which is unusual because developing ports typically require longer periods for these kinds of milestones to be reached. The unjust blockade has, in some sense, helped us as the operator of the port because as the borders are closed, everything has to come via sea or air.

What is the relevance of having QTerminals operating this port, and how is its participation reflected in these positive results?
This is demonstrated by the fact that the shipping lines that used to bring in feeder services now bring in their main line ships, which are larger dedicated container vessels of between 8,000 to 14,000TEUs per vessel. In terms of general cargo, we are seeing larger vessels calling as well. We have direct calls from all the main geographical regions including China, the Indian subcontinent, Asia, Europe, and Africa. We also now have a direct service to Mogadishu and are growing our portfolio of major lines with nine major weekly calls now. The good news is that the equipment that was originally delivered to handle these larger vessels is now handling the vessels for which they were designed, instead of the smaller feeder vessels.

What will be your cooperation with the free zones?
There are a number of free zones being developed. For example, just north of Hamad Port is Um Al Houl, to which we expect to attract import/export business for companies setting up there. We are also in discussions to see how we can partner with the Qatar Free Zone Authority (QFZA). It depends on how the free zones are developed and structured. The free zone near us will be more industrial and will have chemical, manufacturing, and plastics. Although there is a waterway there, it is not as big or deep as the one at Hamad Port. We are looking at how we can assist in handling more product that requires re-processing and, once processed, handling the re-processed products as exports. It is early days yet, so we will see how it goes.

What are the current areas of focus for QTerminals?
We are currently developing Phase 2 (Container Terminal 2) of Hamad Port and have already placed the order for the equipment. In the first phase of the development, we are buying three new quay cranes and 12 new rubber-tired gantries (RTG), which are yard cranes. We have just completed the tendering and technical and commercial evaluation of the main works package and anticipate making an award to the preferred bidder in early December 2019. The manufacturing of the equipment is proceeding on schedule. We are looking at delivery in the middle of 2020 as planned.