EXCLUSIVE: Blockade threatens Qatar World Cup project delivery

05 June 2017

Contractors haul large amounts of materials and equipment into Qatar by road

The decision by Saudi Arabia to close land, sea and air access to Qatar is expected to have a major impact on the delivery of projects being built for football’s Fifa 2022 World Cup.

According to regional projects tracker MEED Projects, there are $47bn of construction and transport schemes in the execution phase in Qatar.

A large proportion of the materials and equipment used on projects in Qatar is hauled by road into the country from Saudi Arabia, Oman and the UAE. “We truck about 50 per cent of our materials into Qatar,” says an international contractor. “We try to ship in the larger items directly, the rest comes mostly from the UAE through Saudi Arabia.”

A regional contractor says that at least 25 per cent of materials used on its schemes comes from the UAE, adding that the confusion will delay the order of new items, and the impact of these delays could be far reaching for long lead items.

Qatar’s domestic sources of raw materials are limited. For aggregate, the country relies heavily on quarries in the UAE and Oman. For manufactured items, contractors and suppliers often prefer to fabricate with established yards in the UAE and Saudi Arabia, which typically have more experience than their counterparts in Qatar and the items produced are of better quality.

The severing of transport links will also affect the movement of people. Many projects are supported by offices in Dubai and Abu Dhabi, and the suspension of direct flights means it will become more difficult to travel to Qatar. “Many staff shuttle back and forth, and sometimes companies send skilled workers on a short assignment to finish a specialised piece of work,” says the regional contractor.

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