Kuwait's primary container port closed over weekend

Container ships stack up within and outside Shuwaikh Port as unpredictable weather suspends navigation
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Kuwait’s Shuwaikh Port was closed to ships Saturday by Kuwait Ports Authority (KPA) due to high winds and low visibility, while the Port of Shuaiba is reportedly operating normally.

The Kuwait Ports Authority (KPA) announced the closure after visibility dropped to less than three nautical miles.

Abdullah Al-Mansour, an official at Shuwaikh Port, told state news agency KUNA that the wind speed raged between 30-35 knots throughout Saturday.

Wind speeds exceeding 20 knots are generally considered unsafe for close quarters navigation of merchant vessels.

Al-Mansour said there were four ships anchored outside the port, while three other ships are in the exit area waiting until the weather improves.

Shuwaikh Port is the principle container hub of Kuwait, handling almost 1-million teu per year in container throughput.

The Kuwait Free Trade Zone, which sits adjacent to the container terminal, generates cargo for feeder vessels primarily, with Jebel Ali as the main transhipment hub for goods into and out of the country.

While Shuwaikh Port can handle mainliners, its maximum 10m depth limits the size of container ships that can enter the port.

As part of Kuwait’s national development plan, a US $500-million, 12-kilometre bridge is being built across Kuwait Bay, linking Shuwaikh Port and the free zone to Doha Peninsula in the Jahra, which will help in the evacuation of containers from the compact terminal.

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