The Transportation Ministry has received expressions of interest from international companies looking to invest in the construction of a greenfield deepwater port and harbour near Basra. The project will be divided into three phases to be completed by 2015 (MEED 30:9:05).

‘We are evaluating offers from several investors, of which four are up to the required standard,’ a ministry spokesperson told MEED on 5 December. Those interested include firms from Kuwait, the UAE, the UK and the US. According to the bid documents, investors were asked to include consortia able to handle onshore and offshore infrastructure works.

The scope of works will cover extensive dredging and reclamation, port planning and construction, construction of residential and commercial facilities, installation of a power plant and a water treatment facility and associated infrastructure works linking the port to the southern road and rail networks.

The ministry is attempting to finalise the tender evaluations before the 15 December elections with a view to deciding on how to proceed to the next stage. ‘We are trying our best to get ahead with it, because after the elections there may be a change in terms of the government and people involved,’ says the spokesperson.

The port will eventually have 100 berths for roll-on, roll-off [ro-ro], containers, gathering centres [GCs], bulk and non-bulk cargo and heavy lift transportation facilities. The scope of works for the first phase, which is expected to be completed within four years, covers core facilities of the greenfield port. Located at Ras al-Bishah, southwest of the smaller harbour at Al-Faw on the southern coast, the port will cover an area of about 8.4 square kilometres.

The Transportation Ministry also plans to upgrade the country’s ports over the next 20 years, although recent tenders issued to investors to increase the numbers of berths at the ports of Umm Qasr and Khor al-Zubair failed to attract any bidders (MEED 14:10:05).