Filipino Port Operator Invests $130 Million In Iraq’s Umm Qasr Port

Filipino Port Operator Invests $130 Million In Iraq’s Umm Qasr Port

Philippines-based global ports operator International Container Terminal Services ICTSI is investing in Iraq's southern Umm Qasr commodities port.

ICTSI will operate, develop and expand the port, near Iraq's border with Kuwait, and invest $130 million in the first phase of the deal.

Umm Qasr sits at the top of the strategic Gulf waterway and, while it does not export oil, it is vital in servicing the oil sector, and receives grain shipments and heavy equipment used in the oil industry.

The Manila-based port management company signed a contract with General Company for Ports of Iraq involving the container facilities at Umm Qasr.

The three-stage project involves constructing three quays that can handle a cargo of 1,500 containers, in addition to storage yards and installation of six gantry cranes, two for each phase.

"The estimated cost of the project is $140 to 150 million dollars for each stage. Each stage involves construction of a quay and a 200,000 square metre yard opposite to store containers and machinery, which are used to load and unload vessels," said Sharif al-Battat, commission manager at ICTSI.

Battat added that the first quay should be operational by August.

"Within the first phase of the project, a 200-meter long quay has been completed and God willing, it will be operational on August 1 with the arrival of the first vessel and the second will be completed within the coming two years," Battat added.

ICTSI will also build a new container and general cargo terminal in the port for a 26-year concession period, and provide container and general cargo terminal services.

According to the head of media relations at Iraqi Ports Company, Anmar al-Safi, the three-phase project will lead to a shipment capacity of three million containers.

"The estimated cost of the construction of three quays is $380 million dollars and I think that with this huge investment we can upgrade the capacity of the port to the targeted shipments planned by the Iraqi ports. For example, the yards can contain up to a million containers in the first phase. The project falls into three phases and this means that by the end of the third and final phase the capacity will be three million containers," Safi said.

Safi said that the project will increase the number of berths in the port from 48 to 83 berths.

ICTSI operates the Philippines' biggest ports and has terminal concessions and port development projects in various other countries, including in Indonesia, Japan, China, the United States, Brazil, Poland, Pakistan, India and now Iraq.

Iraq has only a sliver of coast, squeezed in between Iran and Kuwait. Umm Qasr, one of four Iraqi commercial ports but its only deep water one, handles 80 percent of the country's imports, including grain for a huge public food ration program.