Annual container volume at Umm Qasr Port in Iraq grew between 15 and 20 per cent annually between 2015 and 2017 and Basra Gateway Terminal, the Iraqi subsidiary of Philippines-based International Container Terminal Services Incorporated (ICTSI) expects growth to continue over the long term.
“We experienced strong growth since we started operating the container terminal in 2015,” says Phillip Marsham, CEO, Basra Gateway Terminal. “There is a lot of demand not just in Basra but across Iraq … the ongoing reconstruction [after the war with Islamic State] will further drive future demand.”
This substantial growth has been driving the firm’s ongoing investment in several berths at Umm Qasr Port.
It recently completed the $130m initial expansion of the container terminal in Umm Qasr Port. The firm expects the $120m redevelopment of berths 25 and 26 at the port to be completed before the end of 2019.
The addition of two operating berths will take the terminal’s capacity from 650,000 20-foot equivalent units (TEUs) to 1.3 million TEUs.
Once work on berths 25 and 26 is completed, the container terminal will accommodate container vessels that carry up to 9,000 TEUs.
It is understood the terminal could previously only accommodate smaller vessels with capacities between 5,000 and 6,000 TEUs.
According to Marsham, a deepwater container terminal offers customers the option to send bigger vessels directly to Basra, in addition to having very large vessels dock at Jebel Ali Port in Dubai and using smaller feeder ships to transport containers from there to Umm Qasr Port.
ICTSI signed a 26-year concession agreement for the operation and development of berths 19, 20, 21, 25, 26 and 27 at Umm Qasr Port in 2014.
Berths 20, 25, 26 and 27 comprise the container terminal, berth 19 is dedicated to bulk and projects cargo, and berth 21 to roll-on/roll-off (roro) ships.
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