Iraq’s Ports Record Highest-Ever Returns

By Omar al-Shaher for Al-Monitor. Any opinions expressed are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.

Revenues from Iraqi ports reached $30 million in December 2012, the highest monthly yield in their history. Meanwhile, the Ministry of Transport is preparing to open the Iraqi Container Port in the city of Basra during the next few months, in order to meet a growing demand for shipping.

Times are good at Iraqi ports, despite controversy surrounding the desire of political parties in Basra to impose their control over them. Iraq has had specialized maritime equipment and experience in this field since the 1930s, when the country established a number of ports to reinforce its position overlooking the Persian Gulf.

The progress made by Iraq with its ports is reflected in the fact that some officials have succeeded in isolating the files they manage from the local political quarrels that have hindered economic prosperity in a country that depends on oil revenues to meet 92% of its financial needs.

For example, over the past year Iraq’s ports have been subjected to tremendous pressure, and have responded to a cargo-unloading demand that has surpassed their intended capabilities. Basra’s ports have a combined cargo-unloading capacity of about 27,000 tons per day. However, these ports have been known to unload 42,000 tons on some days.

In the past year, Iraq has increased the capacity of its maritime navigational channel from 2,000 ships annually to more than 8,000, a big leap by any measure.

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