The effect of Qatar Crisis on shipping

On 5th June 2017 UAE, Saudia Arabia, Egypt and Bahrain announced that they were restraining diplomatic ties with Qatar over allegations that it is sponsoring terrorism. In addition to that, various bans have been imposed on land, sea and air travel as well as movement of goods into and out of Qatar.

Immediate bans were imposed on ports in Saudia Arabia, the UAE and Bahrain accepting Qatari flagged or owned vessels. Furthermore, a ban has been imposed in certain ports on vessels of any flag arriving from, or bound for Qatari ports. Saudi Arabia has issued a ban on discharging any goods of Qatari origin in its ports. Given that Egypt imports a large amount of its LNG from Qatar, less dramatic measures have been imposed there. Importantly, the Suez Canal remained open to Qatari-flagged vessels.

Container lines that run a regular service calling at Gulf ports including Doha have been most severely impacted by the bans relating to Qatar. Maersk Line, OOCL and some other shipping lines suspended services to Qatar.

There was an immediate effect on air travel in the region. Qatar Airways, one of the region’s major long-haul carriers, suspended all flights to Saudi Arabia; Etihad, the Abu Dhabi-based carrier, suspended flights to Qatar “until further notice”; Emirates, the Dubai-based carrier suspended Qatar flights; and the Dubai-based budget carrier flydubai suspended flights to and from Doha.

Although restrictions remain in place there are still options for transporting goods to Qatar.

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