Looking back, what were the most important decisions taken by the Ministry of Transport over the last year?
Since the formation of the Ministry of Transport and the issuance of Emiri Decree No. 31 of 2014, which details our responsibilities, the Ministry has progressed on two major work streams. The first one is the developing of the internal organization and the building of our capacity. Secondly, the Ministry has facilitated the delivery of ongoing major state transport projects, such as the opening of Hamad International Airport, the completion of the new port project's quay wall, and the implementation of a public bus improvement action plan that includes the introduction of the West Bay bus service to promote a public transport culture. The Ministry has also initiated a program to develop a multi-agency resilience plan for transportation under the national resilience program in preparation for the 2022 FIFA World Cup and to ensure the safety and security of the nation's air, marine, rail, and land transport sectors in the future.
Improvements in transportation facilities are essential for a country to reach its full potential. What is your vision for providing the State of Qatar with the needed transportation facilities?
The vision of our Ministry is aligned with Qatar's National Vision 2030, and we are working to further integrate the strategic goals of various transportation modes to this vision. As the purpose of the Ministry's formation is to integrate the comprehensive transportation system of the country, our focus is to achieve an integrated multimodal transportation system that complements economic growth and improves people's quality of life by bringing in world-class and state-of-the-art transportation systems and infrastructure. Ideally, we would see public and sustainable transport modes being the preferred modal choice among residents and tourists.
The first phase of Qatar's new port is due to be completed in 2016. What will be the impact of this new facility on the local economy?
Qatar faces a high demand for construction materials to complete key infrastructure projects in preparation for the 2022 FIFA World Cup. The port will play a significant role in ensuring these material needs are met. The new port will provide increased throughput with a capacity for 2 million TEUs per year, eventually increasing to over 6 million. This will then be supported by transshipment links by rail, sea, and road to the GCC region. The establishment of an economic zone adjacent to the new port will facilitate manufacturing industries and position the nation to increase its non-oil and gas exports. The Ministry is also working with stakeholders to increase tourism through international cruise ship visits to Doha.
Once completed, Qatar's rail network will be connected with Bahrain and Saudi Arabia as part of the GCC Railway. What is the importance of this project to the future of the GCC region?
Today, we live in a globally connected world, where ease of accessibility has a major impact on the economic development of countries. The GCC Railway will be a major socio-economic milestone in the history of the GCC, which will further strengthen our long-stranding brotherly relations. To keep up with Qatar's growing population and economy, we require reinforced transportation systems that continue to link industries to markets and people to services.
In which specific elements of the future development of Qatar's transportation network are you inviting international companies to contribute?
The Ministry encourages local companies to participate, though its megaprojects require the involvement of many international players. The Ministry also welcomes all world-class service and product providers that can deliver on high standards of quality, health and safety standards, innovation, and sustainability.