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The “siege of Qatar” could work to some companies’ advantage – Qatar Airways is expecting more business as it picks up charters and negotiates a 60-freighter cattle airlift.
“In the past week, we have received more than 60 freighters loaded with food supplies from neighbouring countries, including Turkey, Iran, Lebanon and Oman,” Ulrich Ogiermann, chief cargo officer, told The Loadstar.
But he denied there was any disruption to the carrier’s operations, although the cargo arm did say “things were a little busy”.
“The deployment of QR Cargo charter flights in support of the food imports has no significant impact to our scheduled operations, as we have sourced sufficient additional aircraft, and our state-of-the-art cargo terminal in Doha is fully equipped to handle large scale incoming and transiting cargo.
“With our newly launched climate control centre, a two-zoned temperature-controlled warehouse, we are completely capable of handling the movement and storage of 900 tonnes of fresh food flown in via these charters and passenger flights every day, in addition to our normal scheduled cargo loads.”
While it was not clear that Qatar Airways was providing the bulk of the extra flights, the planned import of 4,000 cows by air was under negotiation, said Mr Ogiermann.
“The discussion with the relevant parties have just started. We will provide more information when there has been positive development to this project.”
Meanwhile an official at Hamad Port in Doha told Livemint the changes were a “blessing in disguise”, after it began seeing new direct shipping routes.
A new weekly direct service from India’s Mundra port began today, while another from Nhava Sheva is also expected to start soon. And two new services began from Oman. Ships from Shanghai are now calling at Iraq, to avoid connecting Jebel Ali and Doha.
But some shipping lines have not launched new lanes, with Cosco, Evergreen and OOCL still saying their services to Qatar are suspended.