GROWTH ENABLER

Qatar 2019 | TRANSPORT | INTERVIEW

Building robust relationships with international port authorities and major maritime players are key in Mwani Qatar ensuring the smooth flow of goods and access of Qatari goods to global markets.

Abdulla Al-Khanji
BIOGRAPHY
Abdulla Al-Khanji is a Qatari maritime executive with over 16 years in port management and marine operations. He has been CEO of Qatar Ports Management Company- Mwani Qatar since 2014. Prior to this, Al-Khanji was the director of Doha Port, where he oversaw all aspects of port management and operations. He held several key positions during his tenure at the Customs & Ports General Authority, including marine services, port operations, and control and communication. He is a member of Hamad Port Project Steering & Tender Committees and has been a member of the Board of Directors of Qatar Primary Materials Company since 2014. Al-Khanji graduated from ASST Egypt with a bachelor’s degree in Marine Sciences.

What has been the role of Mwani Qatar in securing the supply of goods for the Qatari market?

Mwani Qatar plays many roles in this aspect, in accordance with the Ministry of Transport and Communications' strategic plan. In fact, one of the most important goals is to overcome all obstacles to doing business in the state by providing a stable and reliable supply chain to meet the growing needs of the local market under all circumstances. We have come a long way in this respect, thanks to the close relationships that have been established with international port authorities and players in the maritime transport sector, which enabled our ports to play a major role in ensuring the smooth flow of goods, providing reliable services to our local and international customers, reducing long waiting periods for consignees to receive their goods, and ensuring access of Qatari products to the global markets.

How have Qatari ports performed over the course of 2018?

2018 was a record-breaking year for Qatari ports. Mwani Qatar's performance shows a continued upward trend. We saw a 70% increase in the number of containers handled in Mwani ports. Vessel calls jumped 24% in 2018 to 4,781 ships. As a remarkable feat, over 1.41 million tons of general and bulk cargo, 957,000 livestock, 71,000 vehicles, and 324,000 tons of building materials were handled at Mwani Qatar ports in 2018.

As Qatar expands its commercial reach beyond the GCC, which new trade routes are being established?

Mwani Qatar is working with its partners to set up Hamad Port as a transshipment hub for the region. Within a short period of time, the port has reached global port connectivity coverage, offering 28 direct services to more than 50 ports worldwide. Most of these ports are Qatar's most important economic partners. Opening new and direct shipping routes has provided the right tools to increase trade with these countries, as transit times have been drastically reduced, and the supply chain has become more reliable. Hamad Port's share in the volume of trade in Qatar in terms of exports and imports has reached 95%, which makes the port an important part of the economy and contributes effectively to people's daily lives. It has acquired a 28% share in the volume of trade in the Middle East.

Mwani Qatar recently underwent a rebranding transformation. To what extent will this new identity contribute to position Qatar's port internationally?

Mwani Qatar's new brand identity is just a part of larger plans and additional strategies set by the board of directors headed by Jassim Bin Seif Ahmed Al-Sulaiti, Minister of Transport and Communications, to enhance Mwani Qatar's contribution to the national economy and meet future aspirations. It will further contribute to open new horizons of growth and continuous improvement for Qatar's ports, supporting the company's strength and solidifying its position to become the forefront of maritime companies working in the field of ports and logistics in the region and beyond.

What will be the priorities for Mwani Qatar for 2019?

We will focus on the implementation of plans and objectives set by the board of directors, including expanding Hamad Port's direct shipping networks and services provided to our customers, establishing new partnerships, supporting efforts aimed at increasing the contribution of the company's facilities in the national economy, and promoting economic diversification in the state.