Middle EastOperations

Qatari ships forced to head further afield for bunker supplies

The ongoing political tension between Qatar and its neighboring countries in the Gulf region is causing disruptions in the tanker and container segments. However, Egyptian authorities, despite severing ties with Qatar, have said Qatari ships can continue to transit the Suez Canal, a relief for a number of European countries reliant on Qatari gas including the UK and Poland.

The Suez Canal Authority has advised that vessels flying the Qatari flag transiting the Suez Canal will not face restrictions, as the Suez Canal is an international water passage.

Many Arab nations, including Saudi Arabia and the UAE, cut diplomatic ties with Qatar earlier this week citing the Middle Eastern nation’s support of terrorist groups.

This has created headaches for Qatari owners, who tend to source much of their bunker fuel from Fujairah in the UAE, as well as for containership operators.

Qatari owners are now sending their ships much further afield, to the likes of Singapore and Gibraltar to stock up on fuel.

With terminal operator DP World and the UAE as a whole banning Qatari ships or cargoes, a number of box shipments are now having to be rolled over.

Danish shipping line Maersk has confirmed that it can no longer transport cargo in or out Qatar as it normally tranships cargos from ports in UAE to Qatar. Maersk is now looking at other routes such as Oman. CMA CGM and MSC are also thought to have suffered some disruption from the diplomatic spat.

According to Lars Jensen, CEO at SeaIntelligence Consulting, a significant amount of feeder services to and from Qatar operated by Qatari firm Milaha has also been affected. Spokespeople for Milaha declined to comment when contacted by Splash.

Kevin Doherty, president of Nexus Consulting, a US private maritime safety and security company, warned the standoff could lead to shipping delays.

“I’d say at the moment, the biggest issue shipping companies may face is delays if they haven’t planned properly,” Doherty told Splash today, adding that shipping firms doing business in and around Qatar should ensure that crew changes, stores and bunkers are addressed well before or after calling Qatar.

Jason Jiang

Jason is one of the most prolific writers on the diverse China shipping & logistics industry and his access to the major maritime players with business in China has proved an invaluable source of exclusives. Having been working at Asia Shipping Media since inception, Jason is the chief correspondent of Splash and associate editor of Maritime CEO magazine. Previously he had written for a host of titles including Supply Chain Asia, Cargo Facts and Air Cargo Week.
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