A Doha-based shipping and logistics company, Qatar Navigation (Milaha), has released a statement saying that it has launched a new container service to Kuwait amid the on-going regional dispute between Qatar and its other GCC neighbours.

Milaha will operate the weekly, direct service between Kuwait and Qatar using a vessel capable of handling the equivalent of 515 20-foot containers, the company said in a statement.

Milaha said the service between Qatar’s Hamad Port and Shuwaikh Port in Kuwait would have a transit time of one day, ideal for transporting perishable products and food.

In July, MEED reported that freight forwarders moving goods between Qatar and the UAE are using Omani ports in order to beat the existing maritime, air and road blockade that has been imposed on Qatar by Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Bahrain since 6 June. From Salalah port, shipments are loaded onto a vessel that heads to Jebel Ali Port.

Another option is to ship cargo by ocean freight from Hamad Port to Sohar Port, midway between Dubai, where Jebel Ali Port is located, and Oman’s capital Muscat. The trip takes between one to two days. From Sohar Port, the goods may be transported by road to Jebel Ali Free Zone or any chosen destination.

The forced changes in route mean that shipping time has increased to between eight to 10 days, compared to the previous land route between Qatar and Jebel Ali Port that took only four to five days.

Shipping costs have also increased accordingly.

A source at one of Oman’s ports confirmed an increase in traffic at Omani ports in the aftermath of the blockade, but that they expect this trend to be temporary until the conflict is resolved.

Kuwait and Oman have maintained a neutral stance in the ongoing blockade that aims to change Qatar’s foreign policies that contradict with those adopted by the Saudi-led bloc.