Middle East Monitor – The Qatari media personality and former editor-in-chief of a-Sharq newspaper, Jaber Al-Harmi, has reported, via twitter, that Qatar has opened a land and sea cargo line with Iran and Turkey. The line is expected to reduce cargo shipping costs by 80%.
This statement came in a tweet published by al-Harmi which included a video showing large trucks loaded with goods on its way to Qatar.
Qatar has extended new sea lines in the face of an air, land and sea blockade imposed by neighbouring Arab countries (Saudi Arabia, UAE and Bahrain).
The lines extend between the ports of Qatar to various destinations in Turkey, Kuwait, Oman, India and Pakistan.
Economists believe that the five shipping lines constitute an alternative for Doha in the face of sanctions imposed by its neighbours and also an outlet for its navigational and commercial movement in general.
Since 5 June, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt have severed ties with Qatar and imposed punitive measures on the grounds that it supports terrorism, which Doha has completely denied.
These countries imposed economic sanctions, including restricting their airspace to Qatari airlines as well as sea and land borders, causing the closure of important import ports for Qatar whose population, about 2.7 million, relies mostly on imports to meet its food needs.
Last August, the Qatari Milaha Group launched the first direct service of refrigerated goods between Qatar and Turkey to operate on a regular basis, which would arrive from the Turkish port of Izmir in 11 days.
The company also launched the first direct container transport service between Doha and Kuwait earlier this month, while Doha launched another direct cargo route between Qatar and India, as well as a shipping line linking the port of Hamad southeast of Doha to the ports of Sohar and Salalah in Oman.