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Iraq Looks to Expand Trade with Iran

Iraq Looks to Expand Trade with Iran

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

The year 2013 registered high levels of commercial exchange between Iraq and Iran, which reached — according to both Iraqi and Iranian officials — more than $12 billion. This comes at a time when the Iraqi government aspires to increase trade between the two, with a goal of $15 billion.

In a telephone conversation with Al-Monitor, adviser to the Prime Minister for Economic Affairs Abdul Hussein al-Anbaki explains that the most common goods imported from Iran to Iraq are canned food — including canned cheese and dairy products — as well as soft drinks, meats, vegetable oil, household items and electrical appliances.

The Iraqi government hopes that this trade increase will strengthen Iraq’s role in ensuring stability in the region in light of the economic and political influence of Iran. Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s media advisor, Ali Musawi, told Al-Monitor that Iraq was striving to strengthen ties with all neighboring countries, without exception.

He noted that Iran has had an important weight in economic transactions with Iraq, notably since 2003, and pointed to the ease of commercial exchange between the two countries in terms of transportation and quality of goods, among other factors. Thus, according to Musawi, it is only normal for the two countries’ commercial exchanges to increase.

For his part, the head of the Commerce Department in the Iranian Embassy in Baghdad, Mahmoud Bahzar, told Al-Monitor that Iran hopes to have $20 billion worth of commercial exchanges with Iraq by the end of 2017, saying, “According to our market observations, commercial exchange reached $10-13 billion by the end of November 2013.”

Posted in Industry & Trade1 Comment

Poor Fight for Wealthy Neighbours’ Garbage

Poor Fight for Wealthy Neighbours’ Garbage

This article was originally published by Niqash. Any opinions expressed are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.

One Man’s Rubbish: Basra’s Poor Fight for Wealthy Neighbours’ Garbage

Gangs of poor people in Basra are making a living sifting through rubbish in the oil boomtown’s affluent neighbourhoods. Often they’ll make more in a day than social welfare pays them in a month. Which is why the rubbish business is rife with different gangs claiming turf and competing with official garbage trucks.

Every day, early in the morning when the sun is just rising and it is still cold, groups of people roam Basra’s streets. They search through the refuse and rubbish left by others and they always seem to be racing not just one another, but also the municipality’s garbage collectors, who are always late.

And they keep searching through the rubbish until dusk. The rubbish collectors also compete with one another to be the first to go through rubbish in the city’s more affluent areas – there, one finds Iraq’s new upper class in residence, the likes of government officials, MPs, doctors, contractors and expatriates from elsewhere who are working for foreign firms in Basra.

“There is a huge difference in the standards of living of the ordinary citizen and of Iraq’s elite,” says local human rights activist, Sami al-Maliki. “The elite produce huge amounts of rubbish, throwing out food and furniture. It’s all thrown into containers and these containers have become a kind of market for the local poor. A lot of families now see the garbage business as their way to make a living.”

The rubbish collectors have also formed gangs in the city, which is booming due to its proximity to some of the country’s biggest oil wells. Different families and gangs control different streets in a number of neighbourhoods and they don’t allow others to pick through the rubbish there.

Dressed all in black, Nazim is a member of one of these groups. She’s racing to find the best rubbish and she urges her two pre-pubescent sons to run ahead and check another two streets their family controls.

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SNC-Lavalin Awarded Pipeline Project

SNC-Lavalin Awarded Pipeline Project

By John Lee.

Canada’s SNC-Lavalin has announced that it has been awarded a contract by the Iraq Ministry of Oil’s State Company for Oil Projects (SCOP) to provide engineering services for the Iraq Export Pipeline Project.

Working closely with SCOP, SNC-Lavalin will provide front-end engineering design (FEED); long-lead items tendering and evaluation; and engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) tendering and evaluation for two pipeline systems and five pump station facilities. Once completed, the pipeline system will transport 2.25 million barrels of crude oil per day and 258 million standard cubic feet of natural gas per day from a station near Basra to a station near Haditha. The work will be carried out from SNC-Lavalin’s offices in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.

We are very pleased to support SCOP,” said Terrance Ivers, Executive Vice-President, Oil & Gas, SNC-Lavalin Group Inc. “The Iraq Export Pipeline project is well aligned with SNC-Lavalin’s extensive pipeline capabilities and experience in the Middle East.

(Source: SNC-Lavalin)

Posted in Construction & Engineering, Oil & GasComments Off

Astra Upgraded due to Iraq Steel Mill

Astra Upgraded due to Iraq Steel Mill

By John Lee.

Aljazira Capital has raised its rating on Astra Industrial Group to overweight from neutral after the Saudi industrial conglomerate started a new steel millin Iraq.

The Jeddah-based investment bank was initially expecting the melt shop of 450,000 metric tons/year of billet and mill of 300,000 mt/y of rebar to begin operations in the second half of next year.

It said that the proximity of the Al Amna facility in Khor Al-Zubair to the Basra port, combined with the abundance of scrap in Iraq, will help cut logistics and raw material costs.

In 2010, Astra paid $61 million for a 51 percent stake in Jordan-based Al Tanmiya for Steel Industries, which is the owner of Al Amna.

(Sources: Fortune Best, Aljazira Capital)

(Steel image via Shutterstock)

Posted in Construction & Engineering, InvestmentComments Off

MAG Boosts Iraq Shipping Capacity by 60%

MAG Boosts Iraq Shipping Capacity by 60%

By John Lee.

Dubai-based MAG Container Lines (MCL), a division of the multinational MAG Group, has added three new automated vessels to its existing fleet on the UAE-Iraq route.

According to the report from TradeArabia, the addition of the Al Hussein, MAG Bride (pictured) and MAG Pearl boosts the company’s potential capacity on the route by 60 percent.

A total of $6 million was invested in the IAX-class vessels, which have an individual cargo capacity of 301 TEUs, or 3,549 metric tonnes, with all three ships already operational.

The company first began operations in 2005 as a pioneer liner from Khalid Port in Sharjah to the high profile private port Abu-Fulus [Abu Fallous], located 25 kilometres south of Basra.

(Source: TradeArabia)

Posted in Industry & Trade, TransportationComments Off

Hitachi Wins $240m Desalination Contract

Hitachi Wins $240m Desalination Contract

Hitachi today announced that it has received “a comprehensive order” from the Iraqi Ministry of Municipalities and Public Works for the engineering, procurement, and construction (EPC) of a large-scale water treatment desalination plant in Basra.

The winning consortium consists of three companies: Hitachi, OTV (a water processing plant manufacturer and subsidiary of the French environmental service company Veolia Environment), and Arab Contractors (a nationally owned construction company in Egypt).

The order will also include Operation and Maintenance (O&M) management for a period of five years. The value of the order will total over 25 billion yen [$240 million], and Hitachi will oversee the project as the leader of the three-company consortium. Construction is scheduled to begin in February 2014, with completion scheduled for July 2016.

Hitachi has undertaken business measures tied into infrastructure export activities being rolled out by the Japanese Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry. These measures were instrumental in securing this order.

Basrah, located in the center of southern Iraq, is the nation’s second largest city, but its water infrastructure is far from adequate. Existing water purification facilities, with a total capacity of 400,000m³ per day, are unable to keep up with the city’s huge demand for fresh water, which is estimated at up to 900,000m³ per day. Even the existing water infrastructure facilities are deteriorating.

The goal of the new water purification plant will be to improve the fresh water supply conditions in Iraq, using RO (Reverse Osmosis) facilities to purify river water drawn from close to the river mouth, where salinity is relatively high. This will be Iraq’s largest level of capacity of single water purification plant, capable of supplying 199,000m³ of fresh water per day*.

Hitachi has an extensive track record in the delivery of water treatment plants worldwide, and will leverage this experience and expertise as it participates in the construction and renovation of the new water desalination plant as the consortium’s leader. This is also the first time since the end of the Iraq war that a Japanese company has received an order for a large-scale water infrastructure project based on internal funds from the Iraqi government, rather than Japanese government yen loans.

Plans are currently underway for new business in Iraq, including the construction of further city water supply facilities, and Hitachi will continue its participation in this business in the future. Hitachi hopes to contribute to Iraq’s recovery by putting in place a reliable water infrastructure, and by maintaining and improving the nation’s water environment.

Hitachi has positioned the water environment solution business as a growth field in the context of the Social Innovation Business, and will continue its efforts to accelerate the global rollout of these business activities.

* Equivalent to a supply volume for a population of 400,000 Outline of Order

(Source: Hitachi)

Posted in Construction & Engineering6 Comments

Thales Modernises Iraq’s Air Traffic Mgt

Thales Modernises Iraq’s Air Traffic Mgt

By John Lee.

Thales has signed a contract with the Iraqi Civil Aviation Authority (ICAA) for the modernisation of Iraqi airspace.

The company will deliver a TopSky-ATC centre in Baghdad, this in addition to the ATC centre equipped in Basrah in 2007; it will also supply 3 latest generation RSM970S secondary radars to the ICAA, which will complement Iraqi air space coverage.

According to a company statement:

This contract highlights the strength of the partnership being forged between Thales and the ICAA. In their efforts to reconstruct and modernise Iraqi infrastructure in the post war period, the ICAA has been seeking long term partnerships with systems providers capable of delivering both advanced and efficient ATM systems, and the knowhow necessary to train world class ATC controllers. Thales TopSky-ATC’s technological superiority and training excellence, assures the future proofing of Iraq’s air traffic management.

Jean-Marc Alias, Vice President of Thales ATM, added:

As a destination, as a waypoint between the eastern and western hemispheres and as the hub for some of the world’s major airlines, the Middle East is a crucial ATM region. Iraq is in a vital regional and geographic position and as it comes out of a very difficult period, Thales will be there to support them in building a world class air traffic management network.

(Source: Thales)

Posted in Construction & Engineering, Telecoms/Comms, TransportationComments Off

Iraq Seeks to Become Regional Trade Hub

Iraq Seeks to Become Regional Trade Hub

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

Experts in both the public and the private sectors expected Iraq to be an international free-trade area amid the increasing global variables in economics, trade and manufacturing.

Administrative agent for the Transportation Ministry Salman Bahadli told Al-Monitor, “During the past 10 years, Iraq has failed to benefit from the opportunities and expected revenue coming from proper investment in the transportation sector, especially with the emergence of mega- and large-sized projects carried out by Arab and foreign countries, which used other ways to transfer their goods via Iraq.”

Bahadli said, “The ministry studied the possibility of benefiting from the transportation sector, and thus responded to the request of the Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia to enter into a multimodal transportation-of-goods convention. The ministry has in fact prepared a specific law for the convention and submitted it to the Iraqi Council of Ministers. After receiving approval there on April 25, it was submitted to the Council of Representatives, which passed it a few days ago.”

Bahadli pointed out, “The convention aims to unify the legal rules applicable to the multimodal transportation of goods in the framework of one transportation process that is governed by a single contract that falls under the responsibility of the contract drafter, namely the multimodal transport contractor.”

Posted in Industry & Trade2 Comments

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