Qatar's Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani has opened the new Hamad Port as part of a wider plan to increase non-petroleum exports.

The opening of the port on Tuesday will help Qatar achieve food security and economic diversification in line with Qatar National Vision 2030.

Large container ships will now go directly to Qatar rather than docking in the United Arab Emirates, where cargo used to be transferred to smaller vessels.

The UAE is one of the countries that have imposed a land, air and sea blockade on Qatar.

Hamad Port will have an annual capacity of 7.5 million shipping containers, and separate terminals dedicated to general cargo, cereals, vehicles and livestock.

Located in the town of Mesaieed, the port is the largest of its kind in the Middle East with the capacity to receive all types of ships and vessels. 

It is expected to be fully operational by 2020, when it will cover around 20sq km.

The new routes will connect Qatar's ports to Sohar and Salalah ports in Oman, Shuwaikh Port in Kuwait, Karachi port in Pakistan, Izmir port in Turkey as well as Mundra and Nhava Sheva ports in India, according to Qatar News Agency.

The existing Doha port will then be transformed into an international cruise ship terminal.

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies

Middle East, Qatar, Business & Economy