Qatar’s Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani will formally inaugurate Hamad Port on 5 September, the Transport and Communications Ministry (MOTC) announced on social media.

The $7.4bn first phase of the port began full operations on 1 December 2016.

The port has played an increasingly crucial role in supporting Qatar’s economy in the aftermath of the trade blockade imposed on it by four countries led by Saudi Arabia since June.

Oman, India, Pakistan and Turkey each opened direct shipping routes to Hamad Port in recent weeks.

Doha-based shipping and logistics company Qatar Navigation (Milaha) also recently launched a new weekly, direct container service to Kuwait’s Shuwaikh Port using a vessel capable of handling the equivalent of 515 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs).

In July, Denmark-based shipping firm Maersk Line opened a direct line between Salalah Port in Oman and Hamad Port.

MEED also reported in July 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.

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.