World's Biggest Container Line Says It Can't Send Cargo To Qatar
A.P. Moller-Maersk A/S, which owns the world’s biggest container line, said that it can no longer get cargo to Qatar, after Saudi Arabia and a group of neighbouring countries blocked transport to and from the Gulf state.
Although the situation remains “very fluid”, with updates expected throughout the coming hours, “[Maersk Line expects] disruptions to our Qatar services,” spokesman Mikkel Elbek Linnet said via a recently emailed statement. “[For now,] we have confirmation that we will not be able to move cargo to or from Qatar,” he said.
Maersk Line doesn’t use its own vessels to bring cargo to Qatar, but relies on third-party so-called 'feeder services' from the United Arab Emirates' Jebel Ali port, in Dubai.
“We will notify our customers on alternatives as soon as possible,” Linnet said.
Saudi Arabia and three regional allies – the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Bahrain – accused Qatar of supporting a range of violent groups, from proxies of Shiite Muslim Iran to the Sunni militants of al-Qaeda and Islamic State. The group of countries suspended flights and sea travel to Qatar, ordering Qatari diplomats and citizens out.
Maersk ships about 16% of the world’s seaborne freight, making it the global leader in container transportation.
Maersk, which has been working on splitting off its energy business to concentrate on its transport operations, said last year that it lost the biggest oil field in its portfolio when Qatar ended a 25-year partnership with the Danish company. The agreement, allowing Maersk to operate the Al Shaheen offshore field, expires next month, after the company lost its bid for renewal to Total SA. Qatar’s isolation won’t affect oil production, Maersk told newswire Ritzau recently.