Iraq’s State Ports Company says it could move the location of the planned Grand Faw port so that it is further away from the Mubarak port in neighbouring Kuwait.

“We had eight alternatives for the port location and these were all assessed. The land area [of the port] will have an industrial area. Its border with Mubarak port [in Kuwait] has a negative effect on Faw port. We can move the port towards the east to avoid problems,” says a source at the State Ports Company.

The Iraqi government revealed detailed plans for the new Grand Faw port project in Basra province, southern Iraq during a transport conference in Baghdad on 26 February.

“We have got the new sketches and designs of Grand Faw. Next month we will have a big opportunity,” says Iraq’s transport minister Hadi Farhan al-Amiri.

The port now has a budget of more than $8.4bn and will be developed in four stages. The first stage is Stage 0 and this will cover the construction of a 23-kilometre east breakwater. This stage has a budget of €250m ($336m) and will be funded by the Iraqi government.

“I hope the east breakwater will be implemented this year. Also where service roads need to be placed will also be determined,” says the source at the State Ports Company.

The €4bn ($5.4bn) Stage 1 covers 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 network. A $1.2bn rail link is already planned to link Grand Faw port with Basra. This line will be 101km and will have an annual capacity of 70 million tonnes. This project is at the detailed design stage.

Stage 2 has a budget of €2bn ($2.7bn) and 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. There is no budget in place for this stage yet.

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.