The Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC) has signed an agreement with Qatar Ports Management Company (Mwani Qatar) to use Hamad Port as its regional maritime hub from January 2020.

The deal will enable MSC to use Hamad Port to manage transhipments for up to 150,000 containers a year, which is expected to increase to one million by 2023.

Qatar Minister of Transport and Communications Jassim Seif Ahmed al-Sulaiti said: “The agreement between Mwani Qatar and MSC is part of the Ministry of Transport and Communications’ strategic plan to transform Qatar into a vibrant regional trading hub in the region.”

Mwani Qatar chairman Ahmed al-Sulaiti added that the transhipment operations provide additional revenue sources for ports.

Ports across the world continue to offer new shipping routes to attract transhipment operations from international shipping firms.

Qatar Government expects the agreement to encourage global shipping lines to add Hamad Port to their regional routes and sign similar contracts in the future.

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Hamad Port has emerged as a prominent maritime player among the regional ports by managing the increased volume of the container and cargo handling. It has the capacity to handle 7.5 million containers a year.

The contract will help Hamad Port to become a transit facility where MSC containers or cargo will be transported, unloaded and loaded. Subsequently, the cargo will be dispatched to the final destinations outside Qatar.

Mwani Qatar CEO Captain Abdullah Al Khanji said: “The agreement contributes to the optimal utilisation of the capabilities of Hamad Port and will enhance the import and export operations through it.

“It also contributes to the utilisation of the differential advantages of Qatar’s strategic location on international maritime trade routes and enhances Hamad’s position and role in the national economy in line with Qatar National Vision 2030.”