The Iraqi Minister of Transportation said on Friday that the Iraqi ports are ready to sign contracts with companies receiving oil investment licenses in Iraq now that the country’s ports are ready for such traffic.
AKnews reports that Abdul Jabar said that the ports authorities had completed reconstruction work on many of the docks and acquired the necessary boats and tugs for dealing with large marine oil tankers.
One set back has been the government’s decision to move commercial traffic away from the al-Maqal [Maaqal] Port in Basra, 550 km south of Baghdad, as we reported earlier in the week.
The transport minister reiterated the importance of al-Maqal because of its city location and facilities which keep transportation costs down.
“Al Maqal port was designed by the British and contains a train station and equipment for unloading”.
Jabar went on to explain that recent access issues that have hindered traffic entering the port have nothing to do with the port itself.
“The problem encountered in the work of the port is the presence of a floating bridge on the al-Arab river, which is preventing the arrival of ships.”
Jabbar expressed readiness to resolve the issue by building an elevated bridge with the assistance of the private sector, adding that the ministry is currently seeking to expand the port as part of a plan to develop commercial river navigation in Iraq.