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China’s COSCO suspends shipping services to Qatar

by ChemOrbis Editorial Team -
  • 13/06/2017 (10:43)
Qatar has recently begun shipping cargoes through Oman to bypass Gulf countries that have cut sea traffic. Although the world’s largest shipping containers, namely Maersk and MSC, announced that they will be using Oman’s Salalah port for shipments to Qatar, China’s COSCO Shipping Lines Co Ltd has suspended shipping services to Qatar, blaming uncertainties amidst the cut of diplomatic ties and imposed port restrictions.

Before the Gulf States’ sanctions took affect against Qatar on June 5, cargoes to and from Qatar were normally stopping at Dubai’s deep water Jebel Ali port or in the capital of the Emirates, Abu Dhabi and then they were transferred to the shipping services. After several Arab nations cut the sea traffic with Qatar, Qatar’s port authority said that cargoes heading to/from Qatar will go through Omani ports, Sohar in the north or Salalah in the south.

Global shipping lines Maersk (the world’s no.1) and MSC (the world’s no.2) announced that they will be using Salalah for shipments to Qatar. However, China’s COSCO announced their decision about suspending container services to and from Qatar due to the ongoing tensions between Qatar and the other Arab countries. In an announcement to its customers, the company said ‘’ In view of the uncertainties, and to protect the utmost interests of our clients, we decided to suspend shipments from/to Qatar with immediate effect.”

Taiwan’s EVERGREEN and Hong Kong’s OOCL have also followed suit.

Regarding this issue, Asian players have started to voice their opinions. Chinese players do not expect to see a major impact of this development. “COSCO is not the major shipping line for polymers. Logistics from Qatar mainly rely on Maersk,” two large traders informed.

“Although we don’t think that COSCO’s suspension of shipping services will have an impact on the market, Qatar is an important LDPE supplier for China and there are now supply disruptions. Buyers are now not confident about sourcing this origin due to the uncertainties of delivery time,” commented a trader in Guangzhou.

A trader in Vietnam also noted that the deliveries from Qatar will face a delay of 7-14 days whilst a Hong Kong based global trader said they still have shipment from a Qatari producer but no updates have been given so far.
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