According to MANA, having relied on land routes and sea transhipments via the United Arab Emirates for much of its dry bulk trade, Qatar will need to shift to more direct seaborne shipments amid the Gulf diplomatic crisis.
Analysts have predicted that the toughest challenge for Qatar would be the risk of food shortages, as most of their stocks traditionally come by land from neighbouring countries like Saudi Arabia and the UAE. The development may translate into more shipments from other producing countries helping tonne-miles.
Around 80% of Qatar's food requirements are sourced from Gulf Arab neighbours, one of the analysts said.
So far, the UAE and Saudi Arabia have stopped exports of white sugar to Qatar after the two states broke off relations with Doha — in the first sign that the diplomatic crisis is hitting food trade, Reuters said.
Qatar is dependent on the UAE and Saudi Arabia for its white sugar imports, which are estimated at less than one million tonnes annually, it added.
Meanwhile, the move by the Saudi-led alliance has already impacted aluminium shipments from Qatari company Qatalum, which states it produces more than 600,000 tonnes of primary aluminium per year.
“Supported by owners [Norsk] Hydro and Qatar Petroleum, the Qatalum joint venture is currently working to find alternative shipment routes to enable it to continue to serve its global customers,” said Norway-based Norsk Hydro, which partly owns the plant.
Until now, the aluminium produced by the plant had been exported by ships from Qatar to the UAE’s Jebel Ali port, where it was transferred to larger vessels for exports to Asia, Europe and the US.