Doha is building a new port – one of the largest in the world. The current one is reportedly strained beyond capacity.
Maybe it’s the major reason why running a business or even shopping for your home in Qatar can be so frustrating.
A friend recently called it “Safari shopping” – buying in bulk to carry with you in case you can’t get anymore. It is a common phenomenon in Doha for individuals and business alike.
At Starbuck’s – you want a small take away coffee – “Sorry we are only doing medium at the moment as we don’t have any small cups”
At Jones the Grocer – “No you can’t have any of the flavoured sparkling waters on the menu because they haven’t been able to have any delivered for the last three months.”
Roads under construction get nicely dug up but then go nowhere for months because some of the new drainage pipes aren’t in yet.
And my personal ongoing issue is printer cartridges!
I have had a few multifunction printers (that will be another story about HP and their inability to repair their own printers) and frequently in Qatar the necessary print cartridges will be out of stock – for months on end! Once the magenta cartridge I needed was out of stock for over six months! I called and visited various supply outlets across Doha to no avail.
And now I need a new printer, and so one of my first questions is about print cartridge availability. But anyone supplying either Canon or HP can’t guarantee that they will have the cartridges in stock. “Yes Ma’am, we often have delays getting the cartridges.” So you end up “safari shopping” again. With print cartridges I always buy one and another in reserve “just in case.”
I haven’t seen much improvement in supply chain reliability in Doha in the 5 1/2 years I’ve been here. Products come and go and you learn to make decisions fast and buy more than you would normally need. You plan for it as best you can in your project timelines as often your supplies have arrived but they are sitting on the dock waiting and waiting to clear customs.
I’m looking forward to Doha’s new port – I hope its size, but also its systems are fine tuned to make supplies and planning more reliable. Its benefit to the business community and to consumers will be substantial.