Speaking at MEED’s Port Development 2009 conference in Dubai on 2 February, Imad Fakhoury, chief executive officer of the Aqaba Development Corporation, said that the continued improvement in the security situation in Iraq had caused a massive surge in imported goods entering the country through Jordan.

Imports to Iraq via Jordan’s marine gateway were valued at JD700m ($987m) in 2008, compared to JD150m the previous year.

“Previously, goods leaving Aqaba for Iraq had to be taken in armed convoys, but the improvement we have seen in security since late 2007 means that cargo is much safer and is coming through in much greater volumes,” he said.

Aqaba is promoting itself as a key import hub for the emerging Iraqi market, with a faster service than Iraq’s own deep sea port at Umm Qasr.