The concession will be split into two phases, with the first consisting of a one-year management contract. The remaining six years will see the successful bidder take over operation of the port from the client, the Iraqi Ports Authority (IPA).

Under the terms of the agreement, the concessionaire will be responsible for increasing the port’s capacity to 1 million 20-foot equivalent units (TEUs) by upgrading the superstructure, container terminal and associated equipment. A new software solution specially designed for the operation will also be introduced as part of the modernisation process. Returns on investment will be recouped through profit sharing and revenue collection agreements.

Umm Qasr port is vital to the reconstruction efforts as the vast majority of the country’s freight traffic and international aid is unloaded at its berths. In the year following the coalition invasion, the port was operated by Stevedoring Services of America (SSA)before the IPA took over in the summer.