Chaos for expats departing Qatar due to shipping ban

Published:  19 Jun at 6 PM
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Tagged: UK, Dubai, UAE, England
Qatar’s ongoing sea blockade is making things difficult for expats leaving the emirate.

As a result of the UAE ban on Qatari vessels, expats who’ve planned to leave the emirate this summer are now unable to transport their possessions either by sea or by land. Many are trapped, with no option but to sell off their household goods and vehicles at cheap prices as the cost of storage for an indefinite time is prohibitive. Prior to the June 5 blockade, the majority of shipping from outside the emirate came via the UAE port of Jebel Ali.

Although major shipping companies and the Qatari authorities are attempting to find alternative routes, no workable options have yet been found. Summer is the busiest time for expats leaving Qatar and needing their possessions shipped to their next destination or home country. The ongoing situation has already resulted in a backlog of containers stacked and waiting to leave Qatar, with a number of transportation companies now closing their lists as there is no more storage space available. Others are issuing warnings to potential clients about additional storage and handling costs.

One expat heading for Dubai after five years in Qatar has been forced to sell off her car and all her household possessions after her transportation company told her the shipment would not be allowed to pass through Oman unless she has connections with a resident Omani national. Air freight wasn’t an option due to the cost, and she must now start from scratch to build up a new home after she and her children arrive in Dubai.

A British expat resident due to return to the UK with his wife and children had booked a 20 foot container for their personal goods, due to be loaded on June 11. After the embargo, they’d considered delaying loading, but have since paid for packing and storage. He’s relieved they went ahead and agreed on storage in spite of the extra charges, as no new customers are now being accepted by their removal company. The downside is that they have no idea when their container will be loaded or when their possessions will be delivered.
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