A shipping company Milaha in Doha said it is all set to launch the fastest direct service between Qatar and Pakistani port city of Karachi, in a bid to explore new trade routes as the economy has taken a hit after air and sea blockade from Arab neighbours.
Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain cut diplomatic and transport ties with Qatar on June 5, accusing Doha of supporting terrorism-- a claim Qatar denied.
The country then, to boost air transport and tourism, last month, announced a program to allow visa-free entry for citizens of 80 countries including India.
The state-run conglomerate Milaha said the first vessel will arrive at the newly-inaugurated Hamad Port outside the Qatari capital on September 11. Milaha claimed the journey time will be four days as opposed to the usual six-to-seven days, reported Aljazeera.
"We have been vigorously ramping up our operations between Qatar and key Asian markets in response to growing demand from traders, importers, and exporters on both sides," said Abdulrahman Essa Al-Mannai, Milaha President and Chief Executive Officer, in a statement in the run-up to the launch.
Companies in Qatar are getting more bullish in exploring alternative links to penetrate the untapped Asian market more effectively. Such moves are important at a time when their economy is struggling to grow over economic blockades.
Qatar's imports were slashed by 37.9 percent in June compared with May, right after the closure of the Saudi border with Doha. This forced Doha to look out for new shipping routes and import goods by air.
However, a Reuters poll found experts are still expecting Doha economy to be one of the region's strongest performers in 2017 and 2018.