ICTSI builds up Iraq’s Umm Qasr port deepwater capacity

International Container Terminal Services Inc. (ICTSI) formally inaugurated two new berths in the port of Umm Qasr, Iraq’s main dry cargo port.

The inauguration marked both the opening for business of the two new berths 25 and 26 with a depth of 14 metres, and the completion of ICTSI’s overall $250m investment programme at its Basra Gateway Terminal (BGT) making the port capable of receiving box ships of up 14,000 teu.

Located in Umm Qasr’s North Port, BGT operates a high-capacity-container terminal together with specialised facilities for the handling of general cargo, ro-ro, dry bulk and project cargo for the oil and gas sector.

Three new quayside gantry cranes, each with an outreach of 56m and able to handle up to 21 rows of containers, are installed on the quayside completed with seven new, six-high-stacking RTGs and three existing units bringing the total fleet to 10 RTGs.

A number of senior government officials attended the inauguration ceremony including Dr. Safaa Al-Fayyadh, Director General of the General Company for Ports of Iraq (GCPI) and Chief Atheal Abid Ali Salman, North Port Director, Umm Qasr together with ICTSI’s Enrique K. Razon.

“ICTSI’s completion of our multi-phase $250m investment programme highlights our commitment to Iraq and our readiness to meet the challenge of providing much needed, brand new, port infrastructure and handling technology,” said ICTSI chairman and president Enrique K. Razon.

“We are pleased to lead the way for Umm Qasr to serve higher capacity container vessels, up to and including the so-called ‘New Panamax’ class (14,000 teu) and open the door for cargo importers and exporters for benefitting from substantial scale economies,”

BGT already receives direct calls from a number of shipping lines but traditionally these vessels have not been fully utilized due to draft limitations. The latest berth development removes this limitation plus encourages other shipping lines to introduce larger vessels with the resulting cost and efficiency benefits passing directly to cargo owners.

 

BGT has also undertaken a range of works that provided value-added services in addition to the core box handling and storage processes. Currently, a 10-ha-yard expansion is underway to cater for future growth.

 

BGT has also invested in the terminal complex’s ro-ro facilities with dedicated warehousing and secure areas and specialised handling services and facilities to accommodate the efficient handling of project cargo for the oil and gas sector including secure open storage and warehousing.

“This is the start of a new era in Iraq’s port industry. As Iraq’s economy continues to grow, it is imperative to create the necessary port capacity for the future. ICTSI is proud to be the No. 1 private sector investor in new port capacity supporting economic growth in Iraq,” commented Phillip Marsham, BGT ceo.

Posted 25 October 2019

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Michele Labrut

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Americas Correspondent, Seatrade Maritime News Seatrade correspondent Michele Labrut has continuously covered the maritime sector of Central & Latin America since moving to Panama City in the 1980s. Author of Seatrade's annual Panama Maritime Review and of several books, Michele also writes for Time magazine and the Economist Intelligence Unit. In 2012 she was awarded the Order of Merit (Knight grade) by the French Government for her services to international journalism.

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