Qatar Airways has had to cancel all flights to Saudi, Bahrain, the UAE and Egypt ©Qatar Airways
Qatar Airways has had to cancel all flights to Saudi, Bahrain, the UAE and Egypt ©Qatar Airways

Qatar's supply chains 'instantly disrupted'

6 June 2017

The shockwaves of Qatar’s sudden isolation has already disrupted its supply chains, CIPS has said.

The small Gulf state relies heavily on imports and its supply chains will have “instantly been disrupted” by the shutdown of its sea, land and air borders by surrounding countries, said Duncan Brock, director of customer relationships at CIPS.

“The disruption from the closure of neighbouring airspace and cessation of carrier services to Qatar has ensured the shockwaves of the sanctions are being felt immediately,” he said, adding there has already been panic buying in supermarkets as consumers anticipate shortages.

On Monday six countries including Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the UAE abruptly cut all diplomatic and trade ties with Qatar, accusing the state of financing terrorism in the region.

The dispute has hit Qatar Airways, which has not only cancelled all flights to Saudi, Bahrain, the UAE and Egypt, but has been forced to re-route planes to avoid these countries’ airspaces.

Brock said the air disruptions would also affect supply chains. “The challenges facing air transportation to Qatar will interrupt many large-scale infrastructure and construction projects where consultants are unable to fly from neighbouring states without transiting through a third country,” he said.

Kuwait, which has not cut ties with Qatar, has already positioned itself as mediator. The country’s Amir has travelled to Saudi for a “brotherly visit”, Kuwait’s state news agency reported. Oman’s minister for foreign affairs has also reportedly travelled to Qatar.

Iran, who’s ties with Qatar form part of the reasoning for the blockade, has opened up its airspace for Qatari aircraft.

US president Donald Trump has involved himself in the dispute, appearing to support the isolation of Qatar. He tweeted: “During my recent trip to the Middle East I stated that there can no longer be funding of Radical Ideology. Leaders pointed to Qatar - look!”

A few hours later Trump tweeted: “So good to see the Saudi Arabia visit with the King and 50 countries already paying off. They said they would take a hard line on funding extremism, and all reference was pointing to Qatar. Perhaps this will be the beginning of the end to the horror of terrorism!”

While it is difficult to predict what the long-term implications of the dispute will be, Brock said an early resolution would benefit all parties.

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