Denmark-based shipping firm Maersk Line has opened a direct line between Salalah Port in Oman and Hamad Port in Qatar.

The first vessel on the new line reached Hamad Port on 30 June, according to pictures posted by Qatar Ports Management Company (Mwani) on social media.

Maersk had originally planned to start the alternative route immediately after Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt imposed a maritime blockade on Qatar on 6 June.

It is not clear why the implementation of the plan was delayed for more than two weeks.

A new India-Qatar Express Service (IQX), which connects Hamad port with the Mundra and Nhava Sheva ports in India, has also been launched.

The first vessel on the new line is understood to have docked at Hamad Port on 26 June.

Qatar’s Transport Ministry has said the vessels using the new line would reach Hamad Port every Friday.

Logistics companies have been looking at alternate routes to reach Hamad Port while bypassing Dubai’s Jebel Ali Port in particular.

Prior to the blockade, most goods destined for Qatar are shipped to Jebel Ali Port, which are then offloaded to smaller ships or transported by road to reach Hamad Port.

The $7.4bn Hamad Port, which opened on 1 December 2016, has a capacity to handle up to 2 million twenty-foot equivalent units (TEU) in addition to 2 million tonnes of general cargo.