Iraq’s ports are currently operated inefficiently and not sufficiently developed to handle its high traffic of imports, according to Erik Becker, investment manager at the IFC.

Speaking at MEED’s Iraq Infrastructure Projects 2011 conference in Istanbul, Becker cited the added cost and time associated with importing goods into the country.

In 2011, it cost $3,650 on average to import a container into Iraq and took around 83 days. By contrast, it cost $1,230 on average to import a container into other countries in the Middle East and North Africa (Mena) region and took only 24 days.

Only 25 per cent of imports brought into Iraq are handled by the country’s ports.