Upgrades to Qatar's transport infrastructure kick off

 

Rapid population growth and economic expansion in the past decade have put unprecedented levels of demand on Qatar’s transportation network. Although the highly anticipated opening of the new Hamad International Airport (HIA) in May 2014 relieved some of this pressure, further developments will be needed as the state prepares to host the 2022 FIFA World Cup in less than seven years.

Qatar National Vision 2030 (QNV 2030) has already seen the launch of several transport mega-projects, including a new port, three separate rail projects, and the expansive expressway programme. These developments – the new port in particular – will complement existing facilities, allow the state to meet import requirements as its construction boom continues and offer spin-off benefits to other transport segments as well as the state’s burgeoning tourism industry.

With dozens of new contracts awarded in 2014, 2015 will likely see steady progress on these fronts. Between the port and rail projects already well under way, and the continued work on expanding HIA expected to commence in 2016, the state appears well positioned to remedy existing congestion and enhance overall interregional connectivity.

SECTOR AUTHORITIES: Qatar’s current transportation overhaul is being overseen by the Ministry of Transport, which was created in June 2013 and is headed by Jassim Saif Ahmed Al Sulaiti. The ministry is tasked with organising land and sea transport, developing and improving transportation services, and overseeing the implementation of new projects, which will ultimately boost economic activity and serve the state’s national development requirements.

To roll out these new projects, the ministry works with a variety of stakeholders, including Ashghal (the Public Works Authority) – which is currently undertaking billions in infrastructure upgrades. The Qatar Ports Management Company (Mwani) works in tandem with the New Port Project Steering Committee to oversee construction at a new port facility just outside of Qatar’s capital city, and owns the existing Doha Port, which is managed by Milaha.

The Qatar Civil Aviation Authority, which is responsible for setting aviation policy in the country, works in conjunction with airport owner-operator and flag carrier Qatar Airways (QA), as well as the New Doha International Airport Steering Committee, which is overseeing construction for HIA’s ongoing expansion.

Railway development, meanwhile, is managed by Qatar Railways Company, also known as Qatar Rail.

Qatar Rail is currently in charge of the Qatar Rail Development Programme (QRDP), which comprises the Doha Metro, Lusail Light Rail Transit (LRT), and a long-distance railway that will connect the state to Saudi Arabia and the larger GCC-wide railway project. Qatar Rail is a joint venture between Germany’s Deutsche Bahn International, which holds a 49% stake, and QR ail, a fully owned subsidiary of the Qatari Diar Real Estate Investment Company.

GROWTH: In its 2014-15 Economic Outlook, published in June 2014, the Ministry of Development Planning and Statistics (MDPS) reported the transport and telecommunications sector expanded by 9.7% in 2013, driven by QA’s expansion, increasing liquefied natural gas (LNG) transport capacity, and robust growth in ICT. The sector reported a further 13.6% growth year-on-year (y-o-y) in the second quarter of 2014, reaching a total value of QR6.52bn ($1.79bn), up from QR5.74bn ($1.57bn.) Qatar National Bank reported that transportation and communication’s share of nominal GDP stood at 3.2% in 2013, having grown at a compound annual rate of 12.4% between 2009 and 2013. Employment in the transportation sector stood at 42,452 in 2012, according to the MDPS, with a total of 652 transport businesses operating in the state.

PAYING IT FORWARD: In September 2014 Al Sulaiti announced the government would invest $140bn in transportation infrastructure over the next five years.

Indeed, capital expenditure in transport has already been on the rise: the MDPS reported that the sector’s share of total government capital expenditure rose from 14% in the 2007/08 fiscal year to 24% in the 2013/14 fiscal year, driven by spending on the new airport and port projects, with spending on roads rising from 8% of total capital expenditure to 12%.

AIR: Perhaps the most notable transportation development of 2014 was the opening of HIA in May, with the $15.5bn new airport’s capacity reaching 36m passengers per year, compared to 14m at the previous Doha International Airport. According to CAPA - Centre for Aviation, this limit was frequently exceeded, with the centre’s statistics showing that passenger traffic at the old airport skyrocketed by 89.4% between 2008 and 2013 to reach 23.3m.

According to local press, combined passenger traffic at the two airports increased by some 13% over the course of 2014 to 26.3m. Given the clear need for greater passenger capacity, the expansion will allow the airport to scale up to accommodate around 50m passengers per year when fully completed.

HIA’s western runway – one of two currently in operation – is the eighth longest in the world, at 4850 metres. The airport reports that 100 take-off and landing movements are possible each hour, or five planes every three minutes, and the airport’s 600, 000-sq-metre passenger terminal is now the largest building in Qatar. HIA’s maintenance hangar ranks as the largest on earth, with capacity for 13 aircraft at a time, while its baggage handling system can handle 120,000 items per day, or some 5000 bags each hour.

The airport’s cargo terminal was the first facility to open, beginning operations in December 2013. Its current capacity stands at 1.4m tonnes per year, though this is expected to increase to around 2.5m tonnes on completion of HIA’s planned terminal expansion, which will see two new concourses, D and E, built and connected to the existing A, B, and C concourses. According to local reports from December 2014, the cargo facility handled 410.21m tonnes of cargo between April and September 2014, and total cargo movements were up 13% in 2014, for an increase of around 114.45m movements year-on-year.

PLANNED EXPANSION: Expansion is ongoing at HIA, with the project’s full completion expected to increase the size of the airport’s existing passenger terminal by around 50%, according to local press reports, enlarging it to roughly 900,000 sq metres, and eventually adding 24 new gates. This will bring the total number of gates to 65, with several designed to accommodate Airbus’ double-decker A380 superjumbo.

Additional expansion plans include Airport City, a 10m-sq-metre development linked to HIA and expected to house some 200,000 residents upon completion. Airport City will be organised into four circular zones – the Business District, the Aviation Campus, the Logistics District and the Residential District – with tendering for the project expected after end-2016.

QA: The importance of QA’s role in new aviation developments cannot be understated. The airline, which had its headquarters in Doha International Airport for the 17 years leading up to 2014, acts as current airport manager at HIA. QA has become one of the world’s fastest-growing airlines, with the company currently awaiting billions in new fleet orders and expanding into a number of new markets.

According to QA statistics from September 2014, the airline now flies to 144 destinations worldwide, having added 24 new routes in 2013 and 2014 alone. Its current fleet stands at 136 aircraft, including 27 Boeing 777-300ERs, nine Boeing 777-200LRs, 15 Boeing 787 Dreamliners, 26 Boeing 777F cargo freighters, four Airbus A340-600s, 31 Airbus A320s, 16 Airbus A330-200s, 13 Airbus A330-300s, three Airbus A330 cargo freighters, two Airbus Long Range A319LRs, 10 Airbus A321-200s and one Airbus A380. This portfolio is slated to expand significantly in the coming years, as QA’s current order book stands at 340 aircraft worth an estimated $70bn. HIA has been designed specifically for Airbus’s wide-body A380 aircraft, with QA receiving its first of 10 new A380s in September 2014 – now flying between Doha and several other cities. Aircraft on order include 100 Boeing 777Xs, 80 Airbus A350s, 45 Boeing 787s, nine Boeing 777s, 80 Airbus A320 Neos, nine additional Airbus A380s, 13 Airbus A330 freighters and one Airbus A320.

The airline has pledged to launch 12 new routes each year until 2018, with recent route openings in 2013 and 2014 highlighting the airline’s commitment to its expansion strategy. Regionally, QA is largely focused on underserved markets, launching three new routes to Iraq in 2013, as well as flights to second-tier cities in Saudi Arabia and Oman, in addition to Sharjah and Dubai World Central in the UAE.

WIDER NET: As Qatar’s trade with East Asia expands, QA also moved to launch five new routes to the region in 2013 and 2014, including services to China, Cambodia, the Philippines and Japan. The addition of flights to Addis Ababa in Ethiopia in 2013 and to Djibouti and Eritrea in 2014 has shown that emerging African markets are also on the company’s radar.

At the same time, targeted expansion into European and North American markets has led to predictions that QA – along with its powerhouse regional neighbours, Abu Dhabi’s Etihad Airways and Dubai’s Emirates Airways – could soon overtake Western legacy carriers. QA expanded service to Edinburgh in March 2014, with Scottish officials announcing they expect the new Doha route to become the country’s most popular long-haul flight option.

The airline’s sixth American service, to Miami, was launched in June 2014, preceded by its entrance into the oneworld alliance in October 2013, which created codeshare alliances with major players, including American Airlines, British Airways, Cathay Pacific, Japan Airlines and Malaysian Airlines.

The expansion of aviation facilities offers the potential to draw in more niche business, which in turn would support the state’s wider development agenda. “Qatar has the potential to become a regional hub for helicopter maintenance and repair, as well as innovative aviation technology,” Mohamed Al Mohannadi, CEO of Gulf Helicopters, told OBG. “The development of an aviation services industry would support the QNV 2030 objective to become a knowledge-based economy by bringing in advanced technology.”

PORTS: The new ministry faces some challenges as it works to transform the state into a truly multi-modal hub. Although the sector has already witnessed millions in investment in new airport, rail and roads projects, a growing shortage of construction materials and congestion at Doha’s existing port have slowed projects that are currently under way.

The state’s imports have shown strong expansion as dozens of mega-projects move forward under QNV 2030, most notably Lusail City, Airport City, the QRDP, expansions at HIA and a host of new tourism, medical and education projects requiring huge supplies of material (see Construction chapter). To meet its import and export demands, Qatar has four operational ports at present: the existing Doha Port, the state’s main commercial gateway; Ras Laffan, an LNG export facility; Mesaieed, a non-petroleum industrial port; and Halul Island, an oil export facility.

RAS LAFFAN: The country’s gas export operations are based out of Ras Laffan, which sits roughly 80 km north of Doha and was constructed by state-owned Qatar Petroleum in 1996. Decades of expansion have seen the port’s site expand to 56 sq km, including berths for LNG, liquid product, dry cargo and offshore support vessels. Ras Laffan is home to the world’s largest LNG export facility and largest LNG fleet.

Growth in recent months has been strong, according to the MDPS. Although total vessel numbers declined by an average of 1.81% per month from January to September 2014, total tonnage expanded by an average of 18.54% each month, to reach 82.82m tonnes over the first nine months of the year.

MESAIEED: The Port of Mesaieed was specially designed to provide services and facilities for customers in proximity to Mesaieed Industrial City, a subsidiary of Qatar Petroleum, which was established in 1996. The city is home to the crude oil, hydrocarbons, petrochemicals and metallurgical industries. The port provides dedicated container handling services at a container terminal operated by Milaha, offering throughput capacity of some 500,000 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) per year.

Qatar Primary Materials Company uses Mesaieed as one of its three entry points to the country for importing construction materials. It operates the gabbro berth at Mesaieed and also imports cement and white sand from its facilities at the port. A total of 1374 vessels made calls at Mesaieed between January and September 2014, and total cargo volumes expanded by an average of 7.5% per month over the period to reach 22.76m tonnes.

Meanwhile, growth at Halul remained largely flat during the first nine months of 2014, with cargo volumes rising by 0.5% per month to 8.4m tonnes.

DOHA PORT: Doha’s existing port was built in 1971 in the relatively shallow waters of Doha Bay, and represents the state’s main commercial gateway. Located in the centre of Doha, the port is used to procure construction materials, consumer goods and other general cargo. To keep pace with economic growth of 13.5% per year between 2005 and 2013, and a rising population, which increased by more than 224,000 in the first 11 months of 2014, the port has undergone several expansions and now comprises nine quays and two container berths.

According to the MDPS, the port’s cargo volumes fell by 60.2% month-on-month in September 2014 to 959,595 tonnes, compared to 2.41m tonnes in August 2014, although volumes and vessel numbers showed steady growth during the first nine months of the year. MDPS statistics indicate that vessel numbers rose by an average of 1.89% each month from January to September, with a total of 1064 vessels calling at Doha Port, while cargo volumes expanded by an average of 12.2% each month, to reach 9.4m tonnes. This compares favourably to 2012, when 1521 ships called on Doha Port – 30% more than the 1188 recorded in 2011 – while net tonnage for the year increased by 12%, from 7.4m to 8.3m tonnes.

UPGRADES: Part of this growth can be attributed to Milaha, which took over management duties on behalf of Mwani Qatar at the Doha Port in February 2011, and has since implemented a series of measures aimed at improving efficiency. In collaboration with Mwani, Milaha supported the establishment of a single-window system that has streamlined cargo clearance procedures, and a long-term berth planning system that has minimised wait times for vessels.

Milaha has also implemented two new systems – the Jade Master Care Terminal Operating System, replacing a manual system and digitising data inputs and outputs, thereby streamlining procedures to the benefit of the port and user community; and the Rostima Labour Management System, which enables port officials to efficiently deploy, catalogue and maintain a comprehensive database of all employees. The company reports that as a result of these new efficiency initiatives, ongoing staff training and development, and improved use of port logistics, capacity at the port has expanded significantly.

“When we took over, the port had a nominal capacity of 450,000 TEUs, but in cooperation with Mwani, we streamlined the port, increasing capacity to 650,000 TEUs of annual throughput capacity. We will continue to add another 70,000 to 100,000 TEUs in the future,” Sheikh Ali bin Jassim bin Mohammad Al Thani, chairman and managing director of Milaha, told OBG.

However, despite these recent improvements at the port itself, its location in the centre of the city has created serious bottlenecks for incoming shipments, with authorities moving to restrict traffic flows during peak daylight hours. At the same time, the port’s draft ranges from 7.1 to 12.2 metres, which is insufficient for large cargo freighters, meaning higher numbers of smaller ships are seeking to enter the port.

NEW PORT: In June 2007 Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani issued a royal decree establishing the world’s largest greenfield port project, worth QR27bn ($7.4bn). Formerly known as the New Port Project, the facility was officially named Hamad Port in late February 2015 and will be located between Al Wakrah and Mesaieed. The existing facility is expected to cease commercial shipping activities and become a cruise ship terminal, similar to Oman’s Port Sultan Qaboos, which ended commercial operations in September 2014. Hamad Port will include a new naval base for the Qatar Emiri Naval Forces, as well as development of Qatar Economic Zone 3, which is expected to attract new industrial investment under the supervision of state-owned Manateq (see Trade & Investment chapter.) The project site covers an area of 26.5 sq km, with the naval base alone set to span 4.5 sq km.

The port will open in phases, with the first phase scheduled to be completed in early 2016, offering an initial cargo handling capacity of 2m TEUs and 2m tonnes of general cargo – more than double the existing port’s capacity. Upon completion the port will offer three container terminals with a total capacity of over 6m TEUs per year, while its 17-metre draught will allow the world’s largest vessels to make calls.

“The port is quite possibly the most critical project for Qatar,” Abdullah Al Khanji, CEO of Mwani, told OBG. “All the major infrastructure projects in the country are relying on its completion. Hamad Port will put Doha on the map and will facilitate business and trade.”

Construction began in October 2011, with the first concrete for the port’s quay wall laid in July 2012. In March 2012 Middle East Dredging Company was awarded a QR4.49bn ($1.23bn) contract for the dredging, reclamation and breakwater construction, while Teyseer Contracting Company won a QR1.06bn ($291m) contract for construction of the port container terminal infrastructure and utility buildings. “The total awarded contracts to date are valued at QR15.4bn ($4.2bn), of which 53% has been awarded to local contractors,” Al Khanji told OBG. In December 2014 the project as a whole was more than halfway complete, according to Al Khanji. As of December, the port itself was 61% finished, the naval base was 30% finalised and Qatar Economic Zone 3 – a self-contained development adjacent to the port – was 38% done. The New Port Project Steering Committee listed 17 current tenders as of December 2014, including ones for construction, safety and security services, equipment procurement and vessel procurement, with two additional tenders for equipment procurement and building construction expected in the near term. The contract for port management remains a highly anticipated award, expected in 2015. Although work on the port was initially scheduled to finish in 2030, a pressing need for new shipping and logistics infrastructure has led the government to push port development forward by a decade. In January 2014 Al Sulaiti announced in a Cabinet session that the Ministry of Transport plans to expedite construction at the new Hamad Port by merging its development phases, with the goal of completing it 10 years ahead of schedule. According to Al Sulaiti, port authorities are considering a plan that would see the project’s third phase completed as soon as 2020, rather than 2030, though detailed plans to merge phases have not been announced.

RAIL: Beyond the ongoing expansions of the country’s airport and port, perhaps the most significant transportation project currently under development in the state is the multi-faceted QRDP, which plans to create three interlinking railway services across the country: the Lusail LRT, the Doha Metro and a long-haul rail line connecting Qatar to the wider GCC. Total investments in the project were estimated at between $35bn and $45bn, according to a December 2014 report published by Deloitte.

DOHA METRO: The most high-profile dimension of this project is the 216-km Doha Metro, which will consist of four lines. The Red, or Coast Line, is a north-south line connecting Al Khor to Mesaieed via Lusail, West Bay, Msheireb and HIA; while the Green, or Education Line, which will follow Al Rayyan Road, cutting a diagonal line from north-west to south-east and connecting Education City to Umm Salal and southern industrial areas via Doha centre.

For its part, the Gold, or Historic Line, runs from east to west, connecting Airport City North to Al Rayyan South via central Msheireb. Meanwhile, the 17.5-km Blue, or City Line, will be entirely underground, running a semi-circular route connecting the residential and commercial areas of West Bay and Airport City North, though this line is scheduled to open last.

The metro will include approximately 100 stations, including two major stations at Msheireb and Education City. The Msheireb station will be located in the centre of downtown Doha, and offer a major interchange for three of the metro’s lines (Red, Green and Gold), while the Education City station will be a dual-operation facility linking the Green Line with high-speed, long-distance passenger rail and transforming it into an international overland gateway to the city.

Overall delivery packages for the metro have been divided into seven key areas: enabling works, civil engineering, track work, systems, rolling stock, operation and maintenance. As of April 2014, more than $30bn in contracts had been awarded to dozens of companies, including $8.2bn worth of design and build contracts for the green and red lines, awarded in June 2013 (see Construction chapter).

RECENT EXPANSIONS: More recent developments highlight the government’s commitment to opening the Green, Red and Gold lines in time for the 2022 FIFA World Cup, at which time an estimated 1m visitors are expected to arrive – more than three times as many as attended South Africa’s 2010 tournament.

All World Cup ticket holders will be granted a free pass to Qatar’s public transportation during their stay, making the project a strategic imperative for the country. At the same time, growing congestion on Doha’s road network has made reducing vehicle traffic a key transportation goal. Early estimates show ridership on the metro will reach 60,000 passengers per day, helping to take thousands of vehicles off the road.

In March 2014 Qatar Rail announced it had awarded a QR2.57bn ($704m) contract for further expansion of the Red Line to Spain-based FCC, a project involving construction of elevated stations at Barwa Village and within Al Wakrah – one of which will connect to the planned Al Wakrah World Cup Stadium. The contracted 7-km section is expected to take approximately 31 months to build, although no timeline has yet been announced.

The following month Qatar Rail awarded a $4.4bn contract for the design and construction of the Gold Line – the largest single package for the metro’s construction – to a consortium led by Greek contractor Ellaktor’s subsidiary, Aktor. Together with Turkish contractors STFA Group and Yapı Merkezi, India’s Larsen and Toubro, and Qatar’s Al Jaber Engineering, Aktor will complete works including 32 km of tunnel boring, the construction of 13 underground stations, and the establishment of traffic and utility diversions. Construction will take about 54 months, with completion forecast for August 2018.

In February 2015 a QR3.2bn ($877.1m), 20-year systems contract for phase 1 of the metro was awarded to an international consortium led by Japan’s Mitsubishi Heavy Industries. The group is charged with turnkey construction of the fully automated system, as well as supplying 75 driverless trains.

According to Qatar Rail, the first phase is expected to open to passengers in October 2019, serving 37 stations, including HIA, Msheireb, Education City, West Bay and Lusail. “We have been given a 2020 deadline for the Gold Line to coincide with the 2021 Confederations Cup, not 2022 as is commonly reported. The whole construction package needs to be ready by 2018, and by December 2019 testing of the line will start for a two-year period, allowing just enough time to meet the 2021 deadline. The project is challenging both in terms of logistics and timing, but if all goes smoothly, it will be delivered on time,” Turgut Dizdaro ğlu, regional director of STFA, told OBG.

LUSAIL LIGHT RAIL: Work on Lusail City’s LRT system is also progressing. Qatar Rail reports that the system will support and integrate Lusail’s transportation networks, enhancing both capacity and efficiency of movements within the city, which is expected to be home to 200,000 residents and host more than 80,000 annual visitors when construction finishes. The 33-km LRT system will comprise four lines, including approximately 22.7 km of at-grade and elevated railway, as well as 10.4 km of cut-and-cover construction.

Developers plan to construct 25 stations at-grade in various configurations, as well as several underground stations – four in the Marina district, one in Entertainment City, one in Energy City, one in the Qatar Petroleum District and one at the Pearl Station. The LRT system is expected to be integrated with the Qatar National Railway network, and will also connect to the Doha Metro at its Pearl City station. The first two phases of construction have already been completed, with the third expected to be finished in April 2015. The remaining two phases will be concluded in January 2019 and June 2020, respectively.

In June 2014 a consortium led by joint venture Qatari Diar Vinci Construction (QDVC) and French firm Alstom was awarded a €2bn design and build contract for the Lusail LRT project. QDVC was originally involved in the project when it won the first two construction contracts for the line, in 2007 and 2011, with 7 km of tunnel, seven underground stations, and four surface stations already constructed as of June 2014.

Under the new contract, QDVC will build an additional 25 stations as well as an LRT depot, and will undertake architectural and electro-mechanical works, while Alstom, whose share of the contract is worth some €750m, will supply 35 light rail vehicles and provide electrification, power supply, track, signalling, telecommunications and train control.

LONG-DISTANCE RAIL: Additionally, the QRDP is working on the development of a long-distance passenger and freight rail network to help connect major centres of population and industry in Qatar. The new railways will also form part of the planned GCC railway network. Progress on this project has been slower than for the metro or the LRT; however, several new developments, both within Qatar and in the wider GCC, indicate that Qatar’s regional connectivity is set to expand significantly in the coming years as state authorities move to integrate existing transportation infrastructure with planned special economic zones, new roads and highways, the QRDP and the new Hamad Port (see analysis).

In mid-February 2015 Qatar Rail launched the pre-qualification process for the civil works on the first phase of the project. Initially offered alongside the rail tender in 2014, the works have since been split in two and are being offered separately. After prequalification documents were submitted in late March, Qatar Rail expects the process to move swiftly, with documentation to be released in mid-2015, followed by a five-month tendering period. The contract is due to be awarded in mid-2016 for a commercial opening of the railway’s first phase by the end of 2018. This phase will cover at least 133 km of track as well as freight yards and station architecture.

ON THE ROAD: Although Doha’s transportation network is slated to become one of the most advanced and integrated in the GCC, the rail projects currently under way will still not be completed and operational for several more years, making road upgrades a major imperative for transportation sector stakeholders.

The number of motor vehicles in Qatar has shown a sharp increase due to explosive population growth. Vehicles dominate imports to Qatar, with a total value of QR1.01bn ($277m) in September 2014 alone, while the total number of registered vehicles in the state expanded by 21.7% in September 2014, reaching 10,285, compared to 8450 in August.

As a result of this increase, Doha’s major arteries have become some of the most congested in the GCC, especially in central Doha and the densely populated business and residential areas in West Bay. Personal vehicles often share the road with large trucks carrying construction materials and related equipment, putting significant pressure on overstrained road networks and exacerbating the crowding.

While the upcoming infrastructure projects are set to boost Qatar’s international trade connections, upgrades for the country’s domestic transportation network are also in the pipeline. In November 2014 Ashghal reported that the value of contracts it awarded had jumped by nearly 200% between 2012/13 and 2013/14, to QR38.4bn ($10.53bn), of which 88% were road projects. The authority’s ambitious expressway programme is expected to upgrade, expand and construct thousands of kilometres of new roadways, adding approximately 1000 km of roads to the state’s existing 8980-km road network.

Under the country’s expressway programme, an estimated 240 major interchanges, ranging from conventional traffic lights to junctions with tunnels and flyovers, are set to be constructed, with more than 30 major projects expected to be delivered, including new and upgraded freeways, expressways and arterial roads across the state.

With more than QR40bn ($10.96bn) worth of projects currently under construction, the programme is charged with delivering a national road network capable of future development. Notable projects in progress include the Lusail expressway, new orbital highway and truck route, the Al Wakrah Bypass, Al Rayyan Expressway and the East-West corridor projects.

The completion of major roads and rail projects is expected to greatly enhance regional connectivity, as well as facilitate the smooth flow of goods and passengers through traditional chokepoints, and help to separate passenger vehicle traffic from construction truck traffic (see analysis) on the roads.

OUTLOOK: With the 2022 FIFA World Cup less than seven years away and the state busy preparing itself to absorb 1m new visitors for that event alone, in addition to thousands of new residents who will increase demand for infrastructure, residential, tourism and transportation upgrades, the timely delivery of planned projects will be crucial.

For now, the shortage of construction materials and ongoing congestion at Doha’s existing port are the most significant challenges to further expansion, though bottlenecks are expected to be reduced when Hamad Port comes on-line in 2016, which will both improve the flow of goods and labour, as well as help keep materials and construction prices under control.

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