The official inauguration this week of the first phase of International Container Terminal Services (ICTSI) new $130m greenfield development at Basra Gate Terminal (BGT) in Umm Qasr has been hailed as “a milestone in the development of Iraq’s shipping infrastructure.”
The ceremony followed the first container being lifted by one of the two new ship-to-shore cranes installed at the terminal.
Philippines niche port operator ICTSI signed a 26-year concession with the General Company for Ports of Iraq (GCPI) in 2014 to develop and operate three new berths under the BGT moniker, in addition to a 10-year agreement to redevelop the existing container terminal at Berth 20.
When fully developed, the new terminal area will comprise 600 meters of quay and 50 hectares of yard area, complementing bulk and general cargo facilities at berth 19, which ICTSI were contracted to manage earlier this year.
Each stage of the greenfield expansion, the first public-private port sector partnership in Iraq, will add 300,000 TEU capacity, 200,000sq mtr of container storage and two gantry cranes. It is capable of berthing vessels up to 300m and 12m draught.
A boost for sustainable economic growth for Iraq
“Today represents a milestone in the development of Iraq’s shipping infrastructure,” ICTSI Chairman and President, Enrique K. Razon Jr said.
“Modern and reliable infrastructure, equipped with state-of-the-art quayside and landside handling systems is critical for sustainable economic growth. We are confident the new terminal area will boost efficiency and speed the movement of import and export cargo supporting the rapid growth in Iraq’s economy.”
In addition to the new ship-to-shore cranes, the new terminal is served by three rubber tired gantry cranes, a back-up power supply to ensure uninterrupted 24/7 operation, a modern scanner to ensure cargo security and adherence to import regulations, weighbridge to ensure latest VGM regulations are followed and a Navis N4 Terminal Operating System.
BGT has also invested in a simulator from India to train staff, drawn largely from the local community, on cranes and container handling equipment. All civil works were carried out by Iraqi contractors.
“BGT is set to consolidate and expand its position as Iraq’s premier multi-purpose container terminal. With the investment in modern infrastructure, handling systems and supporting IT systems, as well as extensive staff training, BGT will progressively raise the bar in container and general cargo handling operations in Iraq,” said ICTSI Hans-Ole Madsen, Senior VP Europe, Middle East and Africa.
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