Pandemic causes 3-fold surge in freight rate between Iran, Qatar

Press TV – Iranian exporters say freight shipping rates to Qatar have surged by up to three times as a result of a coronavirus pandemic that caused a serious halt to the trade in West Asia.

Adnan Mousapour, who serves as head of Iran-Qatar Joint Chamber of Commerce, said on Saturday that the pandemic had caused a serious decline in a once booming trade exchanges between the two countries.

Trade between Iran and Qatar started to thrive when the Arab country came under a blockade by Saudi Arabia and allies in June 2017.

Iranian exporters have supplied various agricultural products as well as construction materials to Qatar, bringing in over $335 million in revenues over the past calendar year that ended March 19.

Iran’s imports from Qatar topped $30 million over the same period, said Mousapor who insisted that trade balance between the two countries could have further been in Iran’s favor if the pandemic had not caused a closure of shipping lines.

Mousapour said that the spread of the disease in Iran had also affected tourism activities between Iran and Qatar as well as a suitcase trade which normally accounts for a major share of exchanges between the two countries.

The businessman said that many Iranian companies have been facing payment settlement issues with Qatari partners because of the pandemic closures.

Qatar, a gas-producing giant, has been spared of a recent crisis in international oil markets where historically low prices have caused a major decline in revenues for oil exporting nations.

The small country was among the fewest in the region that maintained its flights to Iran even at the height of the pandemic.

Reports in recent months have suggested that Iran and Qatar have plans to increase the size of joint investment projects, especially those in the energy sector.