Italy’s Impregilo is leading the consortium that has been awarded the design contract for the $6bn Grand Faw port in Basra province in southern Iraq.

According to sources working on the project, the consortium was awarded the contract to design the new port in January 2010. Baghdad plans to invite contractors to bid on a deal to build the port in the second quarter of 2010 (MEED 23:3:10).

Other companies in the Italian consortium include Grandi Lavori Fincosit, Todini Construzioni Generali, Salini Costruttori, Bonatti Group, Condotte d’Acqua, Technital, Progetti Europa, Rsg Progetti and Sina.

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.  The port will be 17 metres deep, allowing it to receive the world’s largest cargo ships. It will be built in two to three-year phases.

Grand Faw will become the largest port in the northern Gulf when complete and will complement the facilities available at Umm Qasr port, which currently is Iraq’s only deep-sea port.

Grand Faw will be built to the south of the city of Basra. Cargo coming into the new port from the Gulf will be transported up to Europe on Iraq’s new railway network more quickly than by the Suez Canal. Iraq is planning to build and upgrade $60bn worth of railway projects (MEED 17:3:10).

Once Grand Faw is complete, however, it will find itself competing with the proposed Bubiyan port in Kuwait, which is also aiming to attract the majority of trade in the northern Gulf, including Kuwait, Iran and Iraq.

Kuwait’s Public Works Ministry has received bids in January for the marine engineering works contract the port. The low bidder is a consortium of Kuwait’s United Gulf Construction Company with South Korea’s Hyundai Engineering & Construction Company, which submitted a price of $1.14bn. The second placed bidder is a team of Geneva-registered Archirodon Construction Overseas with the local Mushrif Trading & Contracting Company.

The other groups competing for the contract were a consortium of Kuwait’s Combined Group Contracting Company with Belgium’s Jan de Nul and Tadamon Company and STFA Marine, both of Turkey; and Kuwait Arab Contractors with Egypt’s Arab Contractors.