Tribune News Network Doha Hamad Port on Saturday achieved another milestone as it ushered in the largest container ship yet to arrive at "Qatar's gateway to world trade", with a water salute. The port call of the 365.5metre-long HyundaiDrive, belonging to the South Korean shipping line Hyundai Merchant Marine (HMM), marks the official start of HMM's Korea Middle East Express (KME) service. The vessel has a cargo capacity of 13,154 TEUs (twentyfoot equivalent units) and a draft of 14 metre. The new HMM's KME plans to operate weekly direct services to Hamad Port covering a number of major ports in Asia, including ports of Kwangyang, Busan in South Korea; Ningbo, Kaohsiung, Yantian and Shekou ports in China and Singapore, and Port Klang in Malaysia. Director of Hamad Port Captain Abdul Aziz al Yafei said, "We are pleased to announce the start of a new direct service from one of Asia's largest shipping lines to Hamad Port, which will enhance customer options and provide fast and secure solutions to local and international importexport companies with less transit time and lower cost. "This significant accomplishment comes within the framework of a comprehensive plan implemented by Mwani Qatar under the supervision of the Ministry of Transport and Communications in order to expand Hamad Port's direct shipping line networks and eliminating the intermediate ports by 100 percent, supporting port' status regionally and internationally and ensuring the stability of the domestic market." The arrival of Hyundai Drive reflects the world's shipping lines' confidence in Hamad Port and its ability to handle mega vessels, Yafei said. Thanks to modern technology, Hamad Port has become one of the largest and better ports in the region. Hamad Port has achieved significant landmarks at the regional and international levels in a short period of time, Yafei said, adding that the port in 2017 received a total of 1,748 vessels and handled 772,835 TEU containers, 11.6 million general cargo
tonnes, 606,412 livestock and 65,096 of RORO.
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