New DP World port circular claims Qatari cargoes no longer banned

A new port circular from DP World has been released that echoes statements by Abu Dhabi informing shippers that trade between the UAE and Qatar has been eased.
DP World operates Jebel Ali Port, the largest container port in the Middle East, and the largest in the world outside China.
DP World operates Jebel Ali Port, the largest container port in the Middle East, and the largest in the world outside China.

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A port circular issued by DP World has emerged that reportedly informs third-party shippers using DP World’s Jebel Ali and other UAE ports that cargo trade between the UAE and Qatar is no longer subject to a ban.

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According to the circular, Qatari-flagged ships and vessels with Qatari owners are still prohibited, but foreign-flagged vessels coming from, or traveling to, Qatar and ships carrying cargo between Qatar and the United Arab Emirates are not barred.

The port circular echoes information contained within a circular issued by Abu Dhabi Ports last week.

A DP World spokesperson told Logistics Middle East that the circular had been issued at the direction of the FTA.

The circular, shared with us by DP World, states: "There is no acceptance of vessels with a Qatari flag or owned by a Qatari shipping company or Qatar nationals excluding emergencies and rescue operations related to safety of life at sea. Similarly, UAE flag vessels are not allowed to call at Qatari ports."

The FTA has said that all sanctions on Qatar remained in place and that the circular issued by Abu Dhabi Ports previously had been misinterpreted.

That statement, released via state news agency WAM, was released on the same day (February 21st) as the DP World port circular.

The circular does not expressly prohibit the transport of cargo between the UAE and Qatar in the same way that it does "vessels with a Qatari flag or owned by a Qatari shipping company or Qatar nationals", which is what has created some confusion among third party shippers.

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The UAE, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Egypt cut diplomatic and trade agreements with Qatar in 2017, accusing the country of maintaining close ties with Iran and supporting terrorism. Qatar denies both charges.

Logistics Middle East has reached out to the FTA for comment.

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