Qatar update



The recent action against Qatar by a growing number of countries including the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Bahrain on 5th June 2017 is likely to affect a number of TT Club Members as they undertake their normal business operations.  The situation appears more likely to affect the TT Club’s NVOC, Freight Forwarder, Container line operator and logistics company Members, but Ports and Terminal operator Members could also be impacted in respect of affected cargos passing through their facilities. At this stage it is too early to tell.
 
At present, the operational and legal implications are not clear, but there will be challenges to be faced. So far the situation is affecting Qatari cargo owners, shipping companies, flagged ships, forwarders/NVOC and other Qatari entities involved with the movement of cargo to, from or via Qatar and where the movement involves other Qatari stakeholders.
 
Qatar is a significant trading nation.  News networks report that 90% of Qatari food is imported and that 40% is driven directly across a land border with Saudi Arabia (a border that is now closed).  There are also considerable imports for the construction industry as well as substantial exports of their natural resources. The action against Qatari interests will affect the transport and logistics industry, not only in respect of future shipments, but also in relation to cargo that is either on the way to Qatar and is unable to make the final leg of the journey, or is in Qatar awaiting transhipment to the final destination.  This is likely to lead to significant challenges to TT Club Members.
 
Following updates received yesterday we understand that both Saudi Arabian and UAE port authorities have put restrictions on Qatari flagged ships and owned vessels with some regionally operated ports having banned all vessels arriving from or destined for Qatari ports. Qatari companies moving cargo in or around the listed countries are also facing similar difficulties.
 
What we know
 
While parties have already called for swift and positive negotiations to resolve this matter it is possible this situation could be in place for some time.
 
The network of TT Club correspondents in the countries primarily affected report the following:
 
UAE

  • All exports and imports to and from Qatar by land are currently prohibited.
  • It is understood that all empty trucks with Qatari number plates are permitted to return back to Qatar.
  • All flights by the following operators are suspended: Emirates, Fly Dubai, Air Arabia, Etihad.
  • Immigration of Qatari Nationals has been suspended, and all Qatari visitors and residents have been given two weeks to leave UAE territory, and UAE citizens are banned from travelling to Qatar.
  • The UAE land border is closed to Qatari cargo.

Abu Dhabi Ports(Port Khalifa, Musaffa Port, Mina Syed Port)

  • Entrance to Qatar flagged vessels is currently not permitted.
  • Entrance to vessels coming from or going to Qatar is currently not permitted.
  • Loading or discharging cargo for and/or from Qatar is currently not permitted.
  • Abu Dhabi Petroleum Ports (Ruwais Area)
  • Entrance to Qatar flagged vessels is currently not permitted.
  • Entrance to vessels whose owner is of Qatari nationality is currently not permitted.
  • Entrance to vessels operated by a Qatari registered company is currently not permitted.

Fujairah

  • Entrance to Qatar flagged vessels are currently not permitted.
  • Entrance to vessels coming from Qatar is currently not permitted.
  • All vessels currently in port destined for Qatar will not be issued port clearance.
  • The Fujairah Immigration Department is not permitting personnel to join or sign off any vessel if the vessel’s next or last port is Qatar.
  • Qatari nationals will not be allowed to call at Fujairah Port for any purpose.
  • Qatari transhipment cargo will be allowed on board, but not for discharge for feedering to Qatar.
  • Qatari cargo already landed must be cleared through Customs within the next 24 hours.

Vessels are also required to vacate anchorage immediately if they:

  • Are a Qatar flagged vessel.
  • Are a vessel coming from or going to Qatar.
  • Are under the management of a Qatar registered company.

Jebel Ali Port, Hamriya Port, Port Rashid

  • Entrance to Qatar flagged vessels are currently not permitted.
  • Entrance to all vessels coming from or going to Qatar is currently not permitted entrance.
  • Loading or discharging cargo for and/or from Qatar is currently not permitted.

Saqr Port, Ras Al Khaimah Port, RAK Maritime City, Al Jazeera Port, Al Jeer Port, including offshore anchorage

  • Entrance to Qatar flagged vessels is currently not permitted.
  • Entrance to all vessels operated by a Qatari registered company is currently not permitted entrance.
  • Entrance to all vessels destined for or coming from Qatar is currently not permitted.
  • Loading or discharging cargo for and/or from Qatar is currently not permitted.
     
     

Bahrain 

  • It is understood from a government notice issue on 5th June that all Bahrain ports and territorial waters are currently suspended for marine navigation to and from Qatar, with effect from 6 June 2017.
  • All Qatari visitors and residents have been given two weeks to leave Bahraini territory, and Bahraini citizens are also banned from travelling to Qatar.
  • All Gulf Air flights to Qatar are currently suspended.

Egypt

  • It is anticipated that Qatari-flagged vessels will not be permitted to enter Egyptian ports.
  • There is currently no indication that any vessel calling from Qatar or proceeding to Qatar will face difficulties.
  • Flights between Egypt and Qatar will be temporarily suspended.
  • Qatari nationals entering Egypt are likely to face difficulties.
  • There should be no effect on Suez Canal transits for the time being, but there may be a requirement for Qatari crew members to be replaced while crossing the Canal.
     

Saudi Arabia

  • Entrance to all Qatar flagged vessels is currently not permitted entrance.
  • Entrance to all vessels owned and/or operated by Qatari nationals is currently not permitted.
  • All cargoes from Qatar will not be permitted to discharge.
  • No Qatari crew are to enter Saudi ports.
  • All Saudi airline flights to Qatar are suspended.
     
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    For TT Club Members the immediate concern will be to deal with cargo movements impacted by the action taken against Qatar and Qatari interests. We advise all operators who expect to face difficulties in fulfilling their customers’ needs to immediately inform and keep their customers updated of the situation as it develops and the challenges they face.  Those customers are likely to seek the assistance of Members in changing plans both to minimise disruption and any additional costs that maybe incurred.
     
    A standard Bill of Lading, forwarding agreement, logistics contract or terminal services agreement would normally contain defences and protections for TT Club Members in the event of a situation outside of their control caused through no fault or negligence on the part of the Member.
     
    We are reviewing continuously the situation and we will update you as and when developments arise or once the situation becomes clearer.
     
    If you have any further questions please contact your TT Club representative.

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