Jordan’s Aqaba container terminal is due to complete the second phase of its berth expansion project by the end of the year.  

The port will have a total quay length of 1,000 metres once phase 2 is complete, increasing the port’s annual container capacity to 1.5 million 20-foot equivalent units (TEUs).

The first part of the second phase of expansion was finished in mid-March, with 200 metres of expanded quayside opened up for operations. The port also took delivery of two ship-to-shore cranes and four rubber-tyred gantry cranes (RTGs). The cranes have the ability to handle the larger post-Panamax container ships.

The expansion plans are aimed at helping the port increase the volume of trans-shipment business it does with other countries in the region.

“Up to now, we considered ourselves a transit hub. We want to serve the Jordanian economy and regional countries, with a focus on Iraq market,” a source says.

Aqaba is positioning itself an alternative port to Iraq, particularly given that the country currently does not have sufficient port capacity to support its growing import and export needs.

The continued instability in Syria also enhances Aqaba’s position as a more attractive and safe regional port for shipping lines.

A third phase of expansion is planned once certain capacity levels are reached. Phase 3 will see an additional quayside added to bring capacity to 2.2 million TEUs. Containership throughput expanded by 16 per cent in 2012 compared with the previous year, with 817,000 TEUs recorded at the port.

Aqaba Container Port is managed through a 25-year agreement between Aqaba Development Corporation (ADC) and Dutch firm APM Terminals.