Sharjah-based port operator Gulftainer has won a concession to operate two more berths at Umm Qasr port in Iraq.

According to the firm, it will take over the completion of berths 10 and 11 as they are currently only half complete. Once the berths are finished, Gulftainer will order gantry cranes with the aim of starting operations one year later.

Umm Qasr is Iraq’s only deep sea marine terminal and is in urgent need of repair. In February, Gulftainer became the third foreigner operator at the port after winning the concession to operate berth 8 (MEED 1:2:10).

Gulftainer is currently renovating berth 8 and expects to start operating it in the next few months.

In 2009, the Transport Ministry signed two contracts with foreign operators to lease and develop other commercial berths at Umm Qasr. Baghdad signed one contract with French shipping group CMA CGM and the second deal with an unnamed German-Kuwaiti company (MEED 13:7:09).

Iraq is currently upgrading its ports with plans to build a $6bn Great Faw port in Basra province with Baghdad planning to invite contractors to bid on the deal to build the port in the second quarter of 2010.

Italy’s Impregilo is leading the consortium carrying out the design for the port.

Iraq is also planning to build a new container terminal at Umm Qasr, which will consist of four berths.  The new terminal will be built over three years.