Qatar launches new shipping routes to Oman amid food shortage fears



Mon, 12 Jun 2017 - 11:14 GMT


Mon, 12 Jun 2017 - 11:14 GMT

Workers work in a dairy factory in Doha, Qatar - REUTERS

Workers work in a dairy factory in Doha, Qatar - REUTERS

DOHA, June 12 (Reuters) - Qatar has launched two new shipping services to Omani ports after other Gulf states severed ties with Doha last week, raising concerns over food supplies to import-dependent Qatar.

Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and other Arab countries cut diplomatic as well as travel and trade ties with Qatar last week, accusing it of supporting Iran and funding Islamist groups. Doha denies the charges.

The severing of air, sea and land transport links has closed off key import routes for Qatar and its population of around 2.7 million people.

Thousands of shipping containers destined for Qatar are still stuck at Dubai's Jebel Ali port, according to Qatari importers. Iran and Turkey have flown in food supplies to Qatar as the gas-rich country seeks other sources.

Oman is a member of the Gulf Cooperation Council but takes a relatively independent diplomatic approach to the other five states in the bloc, particularly towards Iran.

The two new services will each run three times a week between Qatar's Hamad Port and Omani ports of Sohar in the north and Salalah in the south, Qatar Ports Management Company (Mwani), a Qatari shareholding company established in 2009, announced on Sunday.

Doha has said the severing of trade and transport ties are hurting the country's inhabitants.

Mani Qatar posted a video on Twitter on Monday of a cargo ship arriving from Sohar port.



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