• Port scheduled to be completed by 2020
  • Container terminal 1 to be ready by March next year
  • The port scheme will form a key point of entry for construction materials

The completion of Qatar’s QR27bn ($7.4bn) New Port Project has been pushed forwards by 10 years. Speaking at MEED’s Qatar Projects conference in Doha on 11 March, Maisar al-Qutami, acting project executive director on the New Port Project, said the prime minister had issued a directive that the port should be completed by 2020, rather than its original completion date of 2030.

The port project includes Hamad Port, a naval base and an economic zone. The port will cover 22 square kilometres. Its 4-kilometre basin will be 700 metres wide and 17 metres deep. The 10km access channel will be 300 metres wide and 15 metres deep.

Updating his audience on the status of the port, Al-Qutami said container terminal 1, the first of three to be built, should be completed in March next year. Its first cargo will arrive in July, however, with cranes being shipped in from China. The first ship-to-shore cranes are being constructed and are expected to arrive on 10 July. They are each 110 metres high and capable of handling two containers at once.

While most ports scan 5-10 per cent of their cargo for security and customs purposes, Qatar’s new port, renamed Hamad Port at a ceremony last month, has the capabilities of scanning 100 per cent of the cargo passing through it. Early operations will be ‘items that require little customs’. Cars and livestock are both likely.

Athens-based Consolidated Contractors Company (CCC) is working on the construction of the terminal, while the local HBK is constructing the port’s general cargo terminal.

The economic zone adjacent to the port, Qatar Economic Zone 3, will have a canal running into it. The New Port Project is excavating the 1.6km-long, 500-metre-wide channel and building the key walls, but construction will be undertaken by the economic zone itself.

Excavation is being carried out by South Korea’s Hyundai and is on schedule, with 96 per cent of the dry excavation complete and dredging just begun. As much dry excavation has been carried out as possible, said Al-Qutami, as it is not only cheaper than dredging, but also requires fewer environmental permits. Work on the basin in the economic zone is 75 per cent complete.

Laying the 10,300 blocks that make up the basin that contains military ships at the port’s 5-sq-km naval base is 80 per cent complete. When finished, a block at the sea end of the basin will be removed to flood the site.

In February, the New Port Project Committee (NPPC) awarded a consortium led by China’s Sinohydro a $380m contract for package one of the construction of port buildings and infrastructure work on the naval base.

The scope of the work involves the construction of 60 port buildings across an area of 78,000 sq m and is expected to be complete by the final quarter of 2016.

The NPPC has also awarded a $137m security systems deal to France-based Thales Communications and Security.

In 2014, MEED reported that a $237m construction contract for work on the new port scheme was awarded to a joint venture of the local Construction Development Company (CDC) and the UK’s Boom Construction. The joint venture will build a centralised customs area at the new port, and is expected to complete construction work in the third quarter of 2016.

The port scheme will form a key point of entry for construction materials as Qatar moves ahead with a major infrastructure programme in preparation for hosting the 2022 Fifa football World Cup.

Stay informed with the latest in the Middle East
Download the MEED app today, available on Apple and Android devices