Director General of Ports and Maritime Directorate of Bushehr Province, Siavash Arjmandzadeh, reported that the first shipping service between the Iranian port of Bushehr and Qatar’s Hamad Port will start operation within days.
On Wednesday, Arjmandzadeh said that on August 24, a large vessel named Grand Ferry will start sailing from the port to Qatar’s Hamad Port. He added that the shipping service will provide cargo transportation for pallets and various types of containers, including those meant for refrigerated transport. “Given the high costs of the air transport, it is expected that the Grand Ferry … could open a new horizon for trade relations between Iran and Qatar,” said Arjmandzadeh. Maybe to transport weapons and terrorists…
Iran has offered a major lifeline to Qatar since the country was sanctioned by Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and others over a diplomatic dispute in June 2017. The gas-rich country of 2.7 million people is mostly dependent on imports for most of its food needs.
The new shipping service to Qatar could “significantly” increase Iran’s exports to the Arab country while it could open a new chapter in tourism activities, said Arjmandzadeh. He added that the Grand Ferry, equipped with 500 beds and 1,200 seats in 250 rooms, would soon accommodate passenger transport between Iran and Qatar. The launch of the shipping service comes less than a year after delegates from Qatar visited Bushehr to discuss possibilities for more imports and passenger visits from Iran.
In October authorities said that there was a need for a 200-400 TEU (20-foot equivalent units) freight service between ports of Bushehr and Hamad.
The Grand Ferry, a roll-on/roll-off (ro-ro) ship built in western France in 1983, is 144 meters long and 26 meters wide. It has remained docked at the Port of Bushehr since June 19 when it arrived to start preparations for the new service.
The ship is planned to carry out two trips a week between Bushehr and Hamad ports which sit over 400 kilometers apart on northern and southern tips of the Persian Gulf.
Late in May, Chairman of Iran-Qatar Chamber of Commerce Adnan Mousapour announced that trade between the two countries is being followed in a normal status, absolutely unaffected by pressures from the US and some regional states. On May 28 he said: “Despite the international pressure on Qatar, the two sides have always been determined to continue their trade relationship as far as they could and through many efforts have been made over the past few days all the problems have been resolved.”
Late in February, a leading newspaper in the United Arab Emirates said Washington is fearful of the growing relations between Iran and Qatar, claiming that Qatar’s all-out support and financial aid to Iran have weakened Washington’s attempts to sanction Tehran.
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