International Container Terminal Services (ICTSI) has started the second phase of a US $100-million port expansion project at Umm Qasr in Iraq that will enable the port to handle post-panamax container ships.
The Philippine terminal operator says the phase two expansion will be completed in stages by the second half of 2019, and it will enlarge ICTSI's Basra Gateway Terminal with 396-metres of new quay with a draft alongside of 14-metres and three new post-panamax STS cranes.
The quay expansion will be adjacent to a new 75 acre yard area with seven RTGs and a 40 acre secure parking area. All told, the expansion will bring the terminal's nameplate capacity to one million TEU per year.
“This new US $100 million investment follows hot on the heels of ICTSI’s development of Berth 27 and the rehabilitation and upgrade of berths 19, 20 and 21, a US $150 million investment,” says Enrique K. Razon Jr, chairman and president of ICTSI.
“This combined effort will, when the new facilities are completed in 18 months’ time, deliver the new facilities that are essential to support Iraq’s key economic objectives including the resurgence of the non-oil economy," he added.
ICTSI first signed with Iraq's General Company for Ports for the development of a container terminal at Umm Qasr in 2014 and the Basra Gateway Terminal's smaller first phase was completed in early 2017.
The expanded facility faces competition from Hong Kong-based Hutchison Port Holdings, which recently took over American firm Nawah Port Management (NPM) to operate NPM's container terminal in Basra's city center, 30 miles inland from Umm Qasr.
“We view NPM’s operations at the Port of Basra as an integral piece of our expanding Middle East strategy,” said Andy Tsoi, Hutchison Ports’ managing director - Middle East and Africa.
“We believe strongly in the growth story of Basra, Iraq, and the Middle East as a whole," he added.
NPM is small, but it boasts dramatically faster customs clearance than that available at Umm Qasr, where NPM alleges that officials can take two to six weeks to release cargo.