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Qatar opens channels with Oman ports

13 Juin 2017

Qatar is highly dependent on imports for essentials such as food and prior to last weeks ban imports moved either via neighbouring ports in countries such as UAE or over the land border with Saudi Arabia.

A Qatari food company owner has said shipments began arriving from Oman, and that about 12 vessels were headed to Qatar from Omani ports of Sohar and Salalah.

Qatar Ports Management launched on Sunday a new direct service linking Hamad port in the Qatari capital with Sohar Port in the Sultanate of Oman.

However, after diplomatic relations were broken off on June 5, the three member States of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) chose to close their air, maritime and land borders, in addition to cancelling flights among their countries and expelling Qatari residents.

Oman is a member of the Gulf Cooperation Council but takes a relatively independent diplomatic approach to the other five states in the bloc, particularly over Iran, the non-Arab, Shi'ite Muslim state across the Gulf.

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The parties must reach an agreement by March 2019 if the United Kingdom is to avoid crashing out of the bloc with no deal. An EU summit which May will attend next Thursday and Friday might mean delaying the launch until the following week.

"There are around 300 containers of fresh and frozen food coming".

"In light of the recent developments in the region, Mwani Qatar and its partners have ensured the business continuity of its ports and shipping operations in and out of Qatar to mitigate the impact of any action that would affect the imports and exports to and from the country", Mwani Qatar said, local media reported. "Some have arrived and the others are on their way", Ahmed al-Khalaf said.

Swiss-based MSC, the world's number 2 line, said it would deploy a new dedicated shipping service to Qatar from Salalah.

Qatar today started the transportation of maritime cargo through Oman, after it was forced by a naval boycott imposed by neighboring countries that broke off diplomatic relations, while it continues receiving planes laden with food from Iran.