How important is the expansion of transport and logistics to the overall economic growth of Qatar?
Hamad Port perfectly fit within the regional and international logistics and supply chain of commercial commodities. It is a strategic piece of infrastructure required under Qatar National Vision 2030 (QNV2030), which sets a crucial goal for the diversification of the Qatari economy and developing the country into a regional trading hub. Diversifying the economy through Hamad Port will make Qatar more resilient against changes in the global economic environment. Current transport and logistics infrastructure projects will facilitate trade, enhance the competitiveness of local industries, and increase the role of the non-hydrocarbon sectors in the national GDP. Under the wise leadership of The Emir of Qatar, His Highness Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al Thani, this vibrant nation will witness an era of non-hydrocarbon world trade through Hamad Port.
What are the most important objectives of Mwani Qatar and what services is the company developing to accomplish these goals?
Mwani Qatar's strategic goal is to transform its ports into the ports of choice for all port users, including main shipping lines, through efficient operations, enhanced customer focus, and the application of the highest standards of safety, security, environment, and quality. Mwani Qatar endeavors to consolidate its leading position locally and is pushing for a strong regional and international presence as a leading integrated port and logistics services provider. With an economic zone being created in close proximity to the port, trade is set to have a tremendous boost and fulfill the economic diversification goals of QNV2030.
How will the offerings of Doha Port and Hamad Port complement each other?
Qatar's infrastructure projects are progressing at a fast pace, and Phase I of Hamad Port, one of the biggest infrastructure projects in Qatar and the region, is on schedule for completion by end-2016. Doha Port will be redeveloped into a cruise terminal once Hamad Port becomes fully operational. Mwani Qatar plans to redevelop Doha Port to receive more tourists and cruise ships in the future. We will also be developing a temporary cruise terminal at Hamad Port, which will serve the incoming larger cruise ships during the 2016/2017 season until Doha Port is fully redeveloped into a cruise port. HE Jassim Bin Saif Al-Sulaiti, the Minister of Transport and Communications, has had a clear vision from the moment the authorities embarked on building one of the largest port developments in the world. Mwani Qatar's strategy is fully integrated, allowing complementarity among the ports to serve our customers without any gaps while developing and upgrading our port infrastructure to reach the highest standards of quality and service.
What are your expectations for the year ahead?
It is expected that the decreasing international oil prices will have an impact on the growth of the world economy, with cascading impacts on international trade and the maritime transport sector. However, low oil prices also have a positive impact on shipping rates and shipping lines' profitability. In all cases, 2016 will be a period for us to consolidate our productivity and efficiency to prepare for the upcoming growth cycle that normally follows economic downturns. I am optimistic in this regard, as the Ministry of Transport and Communications (MOTC) is still following its ambitious infrastructure plans, which will boost the regional economic growth and position the region as a leading trading hub. Hamad Port will open up new horizons for domestic and foreign investment, especially in the Um Alhoul Economic Zone. Hamad Port has the crucial infrastructure necessary to achieve the economic diversification goals of the state. It will facilitate Qatar's international trade to serve the neighboring states through transshipment of goods and will provide incentives for FDI to come to Qatar, especially to the Um Alhoul Economic Zone to establish SMEs, diversify the economy, and take advantage of cost-effective logistics services provided at the port for imports and exports.