Roadworks force containerships to be rerouted from Kuwait’s main port

A major roading project in Kuwait City will see eight containership services which regularly call at the country’s main Port of Shuwaikh rerouted 50km down the coast to Shuaibah Port until at least the end of 2016.

The closure of Ghazali bridge near Shuwaikh port and the anticipated traffic delays for trucks serving the terminal has necessitated the move, the Kuwait arm of Norwegian ship agency Wilhelmsen Ships Service (WSS) has confirmed.

Reports attributed to the Kuwait Shipping Companies and Agents Association (KSCAA) suggest the decision to reduce the volume of cargo at Shuwaikh will see feeder services linked to Danish giant Maersk, France’s CMA CGM, Singapore’s APL, Sri Lanka’s Seacon Shipping and Turkey’s Admiral Container Lines re-routed. It is understood US Military cargo will also be transferred to Shuaibah port.

The diversion will begin in “September or October” for three months, KSCAA said, although sources anticipate further delays.

WSS says the road works are not related to the KD169m ($560m) Sheikh Jaber Al Ahmad Causeway project which runs from near the Port of Shuwaikh westward across Kuwait Bay to Doha (not to be confused with the Qatar capital) and is more than a third complete.

Port of Shuwaikh remains open and WSS Kuwait said the majority of the country’s container business would return to the capital city eventually as Shuaibah Port does not have sufficient capacity to handle Kuwait’s containerized imports long term.

However, in the interim, increased “transportation fees” will be charged for shipments to Port of Shuwaikh “to encourage the local importers to define Shuaibah as a port of destination in the contract which will be reflected in the bill of lading.”

Kuwait’s container trade is understood to be exclusively via feeder services from ports such as Dubai’s Jebel Ali, Khorfakkan in Sharjah and Salalah in Oman.

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