The General State Company of Iraqi Ports is inviting local and international companies to submit bids by 3 May for a contract to manage and operate a new container terminal at Umm Qasr port.

The new container terminal will be built over three years on a greenfield site at Umm Qasr port, which currently is Iraq’s only deep-sea marine terminal.

The new terminal will consist of four berths when complete but will not be operated by Sharjah-based ports operator Gulftainer, which has taken over the existing operations at Umm Qasr.

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 developing its ports sector with plans including the $6bn construction of Great Faw port in Basra province.

An Italian consortium led by Impregilo is working on the design of the new port. Baghdad plans to invite contractors to bid on a deal to build the port in the second quarter of 2010 (MEED 23:3:10).

The port is designed to include 7,000 metres of dock for container ships and an additional 3,500 metres of dock for general cargo.  It will be able to accommodate the world’s biggest vessels.