Qatar has significantly expanded its transport sector over the last decade through focused long-term strategies and high levels of public funding. In the build-up to the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar, the government invested in developing the country’s roads, rail networks and public transport systems to prepare for the influx of visitors. In line with Qatar National Vision 2030 (QNV), Qatar’s transport network is being developed with a focus on sustainability. As such, electric trains and buses are being prioritised, as well as multi-modal systems with safe walking and cycling routes.

Sectoral expansion is expected to moderate over the decade following the 2022 FIFA World Cup. However, the 2020 enactment of a public-private partnership (PPP) law will likely encourage greater private investment in the sector. New projects will focus on expanding Qatar’s transport networks beyond Doha and enhancing connectivity with other GCC countries.

Structure & Oversight

The Ministry of Transport (MoT) is the government authority that manages land, sea and air transport, and aims to develop the sector sustainably in line with the QNV strategic agenda. It monitors each sector’s compliance with international standards and encourages modernisation by using digital technologies to ensure the sector is competitive.

The Transportation Master Plan for Qatar 2050 (TMPQ 2050), published in 2022, acts as a strategic roadmap for the development of Qatar’s land transport infrastructure. The plan proposes 37 road network projects and 30 public transit network projects, with a focus on both economic growth and environmental protection. The outlined transport systems largely consist of electric and low-emissions options. The TMPQ 2050 develops over 60 national land transport policies, including schemes for road networks, public transport, transport services management, laws and governance, and transport technologies.

Various public enterprises oversee the activity of different transport segments. Qatar Airways Group owns Hamad International Airport (HIA) and has several subsidiaries in the cargo, executive jet, hospitality and duty-free market areas of the aviation industry. Qatar Rail oversees the country’s railway network. Mwani Qatar, the government-owned ports management company, oversees Qatar’s seaports and shipping terminals and has supported the development of Hamad Port, the country’s main deep-water port, which officially opened in September 2017. The terminal operating company QT erminals operates Hamad Port, which handles a large proportion of Qatar’s imports and exports. The firm also operates the Akdeniz Port in Antalya, Turkey.

Logistics Ambitions

Qatar’s Third National Development Strategy (NDS-3) 2024-30 outlines the medium-term plan for the next phase of the country’s development and full achievement of QNV. It introduces plans to develop three growth clusters – logistics, manufacturing and tourism – to enhance economic diversification. Under the logistics cluster, the government aims to establish Qatar as a re-export centre for select high-value products and strengthen its position in the global air transport network. This will be achieved by expanding Qatar’s aviation activities, establishing the country as an e-commerce distribution centre, and developing the pharmaceuticals and cold chain goods re-export market. The digitalisation and automation of transport operations and the modernisation of logistics governance will help to support expansion efforts, with the ultimate objective of achieving a top-15 position in the World Bank Logistics Performance Index (LPI).

The NDS-3 outlines several logistics-related targets for 2030. These include a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 6.6% for the logistics sector, a CAGR of 2.4% for labour productivity and earnings of QR24bn ($6.6bn) in re-exports. This will be supported by enhanced trade services, including improving the Customs clearing process and expanding trade promotion, and offering financial products and services to facilitate exports and reduce risks for buyers of Qatari goods and services. Qatar will also strive to develop free trade agreements, economic cooperation agreements and bilateral investment treaties with key target markets.

The logistics-related goals of NDS-3 will build on the positive experience gained during the hosting of the 2022 FIFA World Cup, which placed significant demands on logistics service providers. “Major international events, such as the 2022 FIFA World Cup, gave logistics service providers the opportunity to put into practice the lessons and expertise we have gathered over the years,” Ranjeev Menon, Group CEO, GWC, told OBG. “This allowed us to demonstrate how Qatari logistics companies and the country’s infrastructure can successfully meet and overcome challenges.”

Performance & Investment

Following a successful decade of expansion across the entirety of Qatar’s transport sector, growth is expected to slow in the years following the successful hosting of the 2022 FIFA World Cup. Public spending on transport during the first quarter of 2023 fell by 12.3% year-on-year to QR9.7bn ($2.7bn), from QR11bn ($3bn) in 2022. However, the capital city, Doha, saw a 52% increase in travel revenue within the first three months of 2023 compared to the previous year, totalling QR6.8bn ($1.9bn).

In line with the objectives of QNV and to accommodate 2022 FIFA World Cup visitors, the government invested heavily in the rapid development of transport infrastructure. This included new road networks aimed at boosting connectivity and easing congestion, the Doha Metro system, suburban and national railway links, and port and airport expansion projects .

The transport market in Qatar was valued at $9.9bn by the Qatar Chamber of Commerce and Industry in 2022 and Qatar was ranked third in the GCC region in the LPI in 2023. Hamad Port was ranked eighth in the world in the Container Port Performance Index 2022 by the World Bank and Standard & Poor’s Global Market Intelligence, underlining its position as a leader in maritime trade in the Middle East. In terms of aviation, Qatar Airways was rated the world’s best airline by UK-based aviation consultancy Skytrax in 2023, with HIA achieving second place in the airport category.

The 2022 FIFA World Cup was the most geographically confined World Cup to date, with all eight stadia located within 53 km of each other, making them reachable within an hour from Doha. The rapid expansion of the country’s transport network prior to the tournament offers a blueprint for future host countries. During the tournament, over 1.7m people travelled through Qatar’s international airports and 17.4m trips were made on the Doha Metro. The construction of the sports stadia and transport systems was centred around sustainability, with a focus on reusing the sports facilities in future events and delivering a transport network that is prepared for the targeted future increase in both population and tourist arrivals.

Many of Qatar’s major transport projects to date have been publicly funded, including the Expressway Programme, Doha Metro, the Lusail Tram system and the HIA expansion project. Moving forward, the enactment of a law on PPPs in 2020 is expected to attract higher levels of private funding to the sector. This has already resulted in new projects in other sectors, such as the development of a $1.4bn sewage treatment project with the Public Works Authority (Ashghal) for the areas of Al Wakra and Al Wukair.

Roads & Bridges

Ashghal is responsible for the development and maintenance of Qatar’s road network. Roads and bridges account for the largest share of Qatar’s transport infrastructure industry value, contributing around 45% of the total transport share.

Ashghal’s Expressway Programme – launched in 2017 and completed before the 2022 FIFA World Cup – provided around 800 km of roads across 30 projects under 46 contracts. The expansion of the road network was aimed at alleviating congestion and connecting urban centres. In addition to roads, the project was focused on developing reliable underground utilities, including stormwater networks, electrical services and intelligent transport systems. It also provided improved routes for cyclists and pedestrians. The expansion of the road network has centred around both urbanisation – improving commuter experiences in and between urban centres – and connecting underserved regions.

Ashghal plans to award the tender for the construction of roads and associated infrastructure in Al Kheesa North and East – two residential districts around 15 km north of Doha – and the Rawdat Al Hamama District in the second quarter of 2024, following a bidding process in January that year. Project completion is expected by the second quarter of 2029 at a total cost of $100m.

The government has been working with its neighbouring countries to enhance regional connectivity. The long-delayed Qatar-Bahrain Causeway was approved in 2023, with plans to construct a 40-km causeway between the two countries, reducing travel times from five hours to 30 minutes. The development includes a dual two-lane highway, as well as a rail platform, covering a total of four lanes. Bridges will make up around half of the causeway, with the remaining stretch being built on reclaimed land. It will include flyovers at 40 m above sea level, to ensure shipping traffic is undisturbed. The two governments signed a memorandum of understanding in 2005 to develop the project, establishing a joint authority to manage, maintain and operate the causeway. It is expected to be completed within four years of the start of construction.


There was no rail network in Qatar before 2010, with transport links consisting mainly of limited road networks. Qatar Rail was established in 2011 to develop, operate, and maintain rail infrastructure in line with QNV. Qatar’s long-term plan for the country’s rail network includes the Doha Metro, the Lusail Tram system and a country-wide, high-speed passenger and freight service, aimed at enhancing cross-border transit.

Phase one of the Doha Metro came online in 2019, providing three lines and covering 76 km and 37 stations. The network consists of 110 driverless trains that are able to reach speeds of 100 km per hour, making them the fastest in the region, with an overall capacity of more than 32,000 passengers per hour in each direction. The metro connects the city with other major transport infrastructure, such as HIA, and commuter regions, including Lusail City, 24 km north of Doha. As of April 2024 phase two of the project was in the planning and approval stages.

The Lusail Tram consists of four lines and 28 electric trams, which traverse the city and connect at two points with the Doha Metro network. The first seven stations of the system opened in 2022. Each line is able to transport up to 2500 people per hour in each direction, with trams running at speeds of up to 60 km per hour. Once complete, the 19 km tram system will be the longest tramway in the GCC region.

Qatar Rail’s long-distance rail network will serve as a high-speed passenger and freight network connecting the country’s largest cities. The government hopes to expand its rail network to connect with neighbouring countries under the GCC Railway project. This project was first proposed in 2009 as a means to connect all GCC members by rail, linking major urban centres in the region. Although the project was originally due to be completed in 2018, there have been multiple delays. Improved oil prices and better relations have improved prospects for the construction of the network. There is also a renewed urgency for sustainable diversification, particularly due to government climate-related pledges across the region. GCC member countries established the Gulf Railway Authority in 2022 to oversee the project. That same year Qatar and Saudi Arabia pledged to resume work on a rail connection, and Oman and the UAE commenced works on a $3bn rail project.


HIA opened in 2014 and has since expanded to accommodate Qatar’s growing population and visitor numbers. In 2023 HIA served more than 45m passengers, marking a 31% increase from 2022, aided by the expansion of route and airline options and the enhanced visibility of the country and its national airline. The airport reported that it handled 252,059 flights in 2023, a 22% increase from 2022. It also handled greater quantities of cargo, around 2.3m tonnes. HIA welcomed several new airlines in 2023, including India’s Vistara, Spain’s Iberia and China’s Xiamen Airlines. In 2023 it hosted 52 airlines and served 255 destinations, including passenger, cargo and charter flight destinations.

HIA was rated the best airport in the Middle East in the Skytrax World Airport Awards 2023. This followed the completion of phase one of the HIA expansion project in 2022, which increased the airport’s annual passenger handling capacity to over 58m. Phase two began in early 2023, with plans to increase the passenger capacity to 70m, add a 95,000-sq-metre extension to Concourses D and E, and a build new cargo terminal.

Sustainability has been at the centre of HIA’s development, in line with QNV. The airport design includes features for enhanced waste management and greenhouse gas emissions reduction. It recycles and reuses 4000 tonnes of organic compost a year and uses decontaminated and treated sewage water to maintain its vegetation and its design also provides natural light.

Qatar Airlines has also invested in sustainable initiatives, including by purchasing aircraft that are between 20% and 22% more fuel efficient than the previous models. The company signed an agreement with UK-based oil major Shell in 2023 to source 3000 tonnes of neat sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) at Amsterdam Schiphol airport. This will allow Qatar Airways to use at least a 5% SAF blend between 2023 and 2024. Oneworld Alliance – a grouping of 13 major airlines, including Qatar Airways – has set an aim of using 10% SAF combined fuel volumes by the end of the decade.

Qatar Airways achieved record annual revenue of $21bn in 2022, marking an increase of 45% from 2021, with a net profit of $1.2bn. This performance was aided by the influx of visitors travelling to Qatar for the 2022 FIFA World Cup. Qatar welcomed just over 2.5m overseas visitors in 2022, a 19% increase on the 2.1m visitors who arrived in 2019 – the year before the Covid-19 pandemic upended global travel.

Arrivals grew further in 2023 to exceed 4m, with the government aiming to attract 6m visitors a year by 2030. To keep pace with this anticipated growth, the company plans to expand its route network from 170 to 190 routes, with the possibility of eventually reaching 255 routes, depending on the delivery of extra aircraft from Boeing and Airbus, according to a statement by its former CEO in May 2023.


Qatar’s strategic location between Europe, Asia and Africa and high public investment in the expansion of the country’s ports means the country has positive growth potential in maritime logistics. There are three main ports in Qatar: Doha, Hamad in the Umm Alhoul area and Al Ruwais in the north of the country, which all saw growth in 2023. During the first three quarters of 2023, 2057 vessels docked in the three ports. In September 2023, 163,103 tonnes of cargo were registered across the ports, marking a 23% increase from the same period in 2022.

Hamad and Al Ruwais ports are Qatar’s main shipping centres for trade, while Doha Port primarily handles cruise ships and is being developed to support the country’s growing tourism industry. Hamad Port is the largest seaport in the country, connecting to more than 15 direct shipping lanes and 40 ports across three continents. The port has an annual processing capacity of 7m tonnes, and is capable of handling 1m tonnes of grain and 500,000 cars a year. It is recognised for having the world’s deepest artificial basin.

Urban Transport

The TMPQ 2050 focuses on a wide range of urbanisation projects, based on a projected population increase from 2.5m in 2015 to around 3.2m by 2030, as well as an increase in tourist numbers. The government has invested heavily in the expansion of the public transport network in recent years, rolling out a large network of buses, trams and trains. It has also promoted non-motorised transport, with Ashghal developing 2131 km of pedestrian and cycling lanes between 2013 and 2022. Government policies encourage the development of multi-modal connections between various modes of transport, including public transport, private vehicles, walking and cycling.

The MoT aims to make 35% of vehicles and 100% of its public transport buses electric by 2030, in line with the Qatar National Environment and Climate Change Strategy (see analysis). In 2023 the national bus and taxi operator Mowasalat had a fleet of over 880 electric buses, representing around 70% of the bus fleet. The Lusail Bus Depot, completed in 2022, has been labelled as the world’s largest electric bus depot. It has a capacity of 478 buses and is the first depot in the Middle East to be run entirely on solar power, with 11,000 photovoltaic solar panels generating 4 MW a day.

In partnership with the Ministry of Municipality and the Ministry of Communications and IT, Ashghal launched a smart parking management programme in 2023. The scheme was aimed at reducing traffic congestion and improving urban life, delivering infrastructure for 18,210 carparks across the country.

There is also an extensive taxi network in Qatar and both regular taxis and limousines can be hailed on the street, booked through mobile apps or found at designated stands. Mowasalat offers a ride-hailing service called Karwa Taxi, while international ride-hailing firms Uber and Careem have a strong presence in the country. In 2023 the MoT provided an official list of companies permitted to operate passenger transport services via electronic applications in Qatar in order to ensure the safety of passengers using these services.


The transport network in Qatar has undergone significant expansion over the last decade. Qatar’s transport network includes national rail, the Doha Metro and Lusail Tram systems, a large bus fleet, and multi-modal road, cycling and pedestrian routes. Following years of heavy public investment in the sector, the passing of the 2020 PPP law is expected to spur greater private investment in the transport sector. Meanwhile, the government’s aim for economic diversification is expected to drive the development of domestic and regional links, enhancing connectivity across the region and boosting international trade.