Iraq’s port of Umm Qasr can now welcome containerships of up to 14,000 TEUs following the inauguration of two new berths.
The inauguration ceremony marked both the opening of the Berths 25 and 26 and the completion of International Container Terminal Services’ (ICTSI) overall USD 250 million investment program at its Basra Gateway Terminal (BGT).
“We are pleased to lead the way for Umm Qasr to serve higher capacity container vessels, up to and including the so-called ‘New Panamax’ class (14,000TEU), and as a result to open the door for cargo importers and exporters to benefit from substantial scale economies,” Enrique K. Razon, Chairman & President, ICTSI, commented.
Located in Umm Qasr’s North Port, BGT operates a high capacity container terminal together with specialized facilities for the handling of general cargo, ro-ro, dry bulk and project cargo for the oil and gas sector.
Earlier development included the construction of Berth 27, adjacent to the new berths, with the three berths now offering a combined continuous berth length of 600 meters. Design depth alongside Berths 25 and 26 is 14 meters.
Three new quayside gantry cranes, each with an outreach of 56 meters and able to handle up to 21 rows of containers on the deck of a vessel, are installed on the quayside. On the landside, seven new rubber-tired gantries (RTGs) join three existing units bringing the total fleet to ten RTGs.
BGT already receives direct calls from a number of shipping lines but traditionally these vessels have not been fully utilized due to draft limitations. The latest berth development removes this limitation plus encourages other shipping lines to introduce larger vessels, according to ICTSI.
Outside of the container sector, BGT has also invested in the terminal complex’s RoRo facilities, including dedicated warehousing and secure areas. Similarly, specialized handling services and facilities have been established to accommodate the efficient handling of project cargo for the oil and gas sector.
“This is the start of a new era in Iraq’s port industry. As Iraq’s economy continues to grow, it is imperative to create the necessary port capacity for the future,” Phillip Marsham, Chief Executive Officer of BGT, pointed out.