Qatar's New Port Project

CWQ examines the impact of the New Port Project on Qatar

ANALYSIS, Projects, New Port Project, Qatar's construction industry

Construction of the $7.4bn (QR27bn) New Port Project (NPP) is on track, and is expected to be operational in the first quarter of 2016, a top official of the project has said.

“Progress of the project is on schedule, and at present about 10% of the construction work is complete while 38% of the excavation work by contractor China Harbour Engineering Company Limited is done,” project executive director Nabeel Mohammed Al Buenain told reporters during a site visit to the project towards the end of last year.

According to Al Buenain, China Harbour Engineering Company Limited has made significant progress in the areas of basin excavation, land reclamation and quay wall and breakwater construction.

He said a total of 18 contracts worth QR9bn had been awarded so far, while tenders for the remaining QR18bn would be invited in due course of time.

He said the steering committee had given priority to local companies for contracts, and that this was evident from the fact that, out of the 18 contracts awarded, ten of them had been won by local contractors.

“Developed in multiple phases, the NPP will comprise three container terminals with an eventual combined annual capacity in excess of six million containers.

The first phase, which will be completed in 2016, will have a container terminal to handle two million containers. Another two million tonnes will be added in 2022. One more terminal to handle two million containers will be completed by 2030,” said Al Buenain.

The NPP will also be a centre for Qatar’s Maritime security. A new base for the Qatar Emiri Naval Forces will be built offshore of the project, providing berthing for Qatar’s Navy and visiting naval vessels from around the world.

The base will offer technical support, comprehensive logistic facilities, material support accommodation and recreational services. Similarly, the NPP will have a Qatar Economic Zone 3 (QEZ3), a self-contained development with industrial and residential facilities, which will also be located adjacent to the project.

While the steering committee was committed to ensuring that the lion’s share of the contracts go to local contractors and subcontractors, Al Buenain added: “We would encourage foreign companies, too, to have JVs with the local companies.

We are putting all the details for the future contracts on our website. The local companies need not wait for newspaper notices to submit their tenders. The NPP will launch an Arabic version of the website soon,” he revealed.

The NPP Steering Committee anticipates at least nine future tenders, which are expected to be floated between Q1 2013 and Q1 2014. The project works include construction of a bridge/causeway over the tidal channel that drains the area between the reclamation area and the New Port area. This is in addition to the announcement of another 11 major contract works.

Al Buenain said work is progressing according to the original project schedule. “If everything goes well, we will open the Port during Q1 2016,” he said. Over 10% of the project work has been completed, including 32% of the excavation works.

The New Doha Port Container Terminal will have a capacity of two million 20 ft container equivalent units (TEU) per year, with the possibility to expand to six million TEU a year in the future.

The terminal will be developed in three phases. The first phase is to be completed in 2016. The second and third will be completed in 2020 and 2030 respectively.

The NPP celebrated a milestone on 1 July 2012 with the laying of the first precast concrete block of the 8km quay wall. It will comprise 35,000 concrete blocks, each between 37 and 96 tonnes, with more than a million cubic metres of C40 concrete used. The quay wall will take more than two years to build.

Construction of NPP is also anticipated to generate 20,000 job opportunities, according to NPP steering committee chairman Abdulaziz Mohammed Al Noaimi. Al Noaimi made the comment while addressing media ahead of a project review meeting to be held on-site.

He added that said construction works were proceeding as per the original schedule and timeframe. “The works are now fast progressing,” confirmed Al Noaimi.

The NPP steering committee is tasked with the design and development of a port to meet the requirements of the Qatar National Vision 2030. On 19 June 2007, Qatar Emir HH Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifa Al Thani issued a decree for one of the world’s largest greenfield port developments.

Strategically located south of Doha, the $7.4bn (QR27bn) mega project includes a new port, a new base for the Qatar Emiri Naval Forces and the Qatar Economic Zone 3, all on a 26.5km2 footprint.

The existing port had been operating above capacity for some time, while its location did not fit in with Qatar’s long-term development plans.

The import of raw materials and goods required for the expansion plans envisaged in the Qatar National Vision 2030, along with the hosting of the FIFA World Cup in 2022, underscored the need for a new advanced commercial port facility.

In 2004, Qatar commissioned a feasibility study to explore the relocation of the existing port. Seven sites were investigated prior to the current location being chosen. Work on the NPP site commenced in late 2008.

The new port will include world-class cargo and container terminals, cargo-handling systems and, in due course, rail facilities that will link the port to the GCC region.

Developed as a modern, efficient and cost competitive commercial port, and characterised by state-of-the-art technologies, high-quality service and minimised vessel delays, the new port is envisioned to become a preferred destination for the international shipping and maritime industry.

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