Sharjah-based private port operator Gulftainer says it will start operating the Iraq Container Terminal at the end of 2011.

In April 2010, Gulftainer won the concessions to build and operate berths 10 and 11 at Umm Qasr port, which is in Basra province. The two berths will form the Iraq Container Terminal when complete. It will also comprise four shore gantries to boost capacity (MEED 23:4:10).

Gulftainer is also operating berth 8 at the port, which is Iraq’s only deep-water port. Gulftainer is also developing a number of logistics cities in Iraq that will help accommodate the forecast increase in cargo. The company has just been awarded a 750,000 square-metre area of land on which it will develop storage and distribution facilities at Umm Qasr port.

Iraq is also planning on building a new dry port in Basra that will support operations at the planned $6bn Great Faw port.

Italy’s Impregilo is currently leading a consortium that is carrying out the design of the new port. It is expected to take 15 months to complete the design work.

Gulftainer also operates ports at Ruwais, Sharjah and Khorfakkan in the UAE. At the Middle East Ports & Shipping 2011 conferenceon 25 January, Keith Nuttall, group commercial director for Gulftainer, said that a spur of the UAE’s $11bn federal railway will serve the port of Khorfakkan.