The partnership of Iraq’s Transport Ministry and the state-run General Company for Ports (GCPI) of Iraq has invited contractors to submit bids for the first major construction contract on its estimated $6bn Grand Faw Port project in Basra.

Contractors have until 15 July to submit bids for the work to build an estimated $340m breakwater for the port project. In addition to building the 8,000-metre-long breakwater, the contract will involve dredging work and building an 80-metre-long floating pier.

The breakwater project will be funded by the Iraqi government and was included in its 2012 budget.

The port is scheduled to be developed in four phases, with the breakwater project forming Stage 0 of the overall scheme.

Stage 1 will cover the construction of a 3.5-kilometre long container terminal and container bulk terminals. It will also cover the dredging of 150 million cubic metres, construction of buildings and establishing a rail line to link the port with the national rail network.

Stage 2 will involve the construction of a container terminal and a bulk terminal. It will also cover dredging 100 million cubic metres. The final stage will involve developing the industrial area.

The port authorities are also keen for private sector investment in the port, particularly for supplying equipment. Ultimate expectations are for the port to have 12 berths and to handle 99 million tonnes a year when complete.