Maersk's APMT opens Aqaba to Iraq, rivals ICTSI in Basra
JORDAN's Aqaba Container Terminal (ACT) on the Red Sea's Gulf of Aqaba, has now become an alternative gateway for Iraq-bound cargo, says Maersk's APM Terminals
13 June 2018 - 19:06
Containers imported into Iraq will no longer have to be trans-loaded onto new trucks as they cross the Jordanian/Iraqi border, reports St Petersburg's Port News.
Competing is Manila's International Container Terminal Services' (ICTSI) Iraqi Basra Gateway Terminal at the Port of Umm Quasar at the northern end of the Persian Gulf to US$250 million.
'We continue to receive strong and most encouraging assistance from the General Company for Ports in Iraq and other government bodies,' said ICTSI vice president Hans-Ole Madsen.
'We are confident that we can continue to build on this productive partnership to the benefit of port users and the country as a whole,' said Mr Madsen.
The Otis?s Basra terminal handled 1,481,973 TEU in 2017 while APMT?s Aqaba terminal handled 804,000 TEU in 2017.
The APMT Aqaba terminal is 550 kilometres - or 36 hours by road - from the Iraqi border town of Tribal and 48 hours from Baghdad. This development comes as the volume of Iraqi imports experience rapid growth - 86 per cent last year alone.
'The Aqaba Container Terminal has been working hard over the years to develop a competitive gateway to Iraq,' said ACT managing director Steven Yoogalingam.
'This will enhance the already strong Iraqi port system and gives the business communities of both countries a fantastic transportation system to better support economic development in the region,' he said.
Last month, the ACT welcomed the maiden call of the new AR1 direct service linking Aqaba in Jordan with ports in China, Korea, Singapore and Malaysia. Wan Hai and container shipping group THE Alliance, made up of Hapag-Lloyd, Yang Ming (YML) and the Ocean Network Express (ONE), jointly operate the service. The extra capacity deployed by the lines into Aqaba provides ample space to support the needs of the Iraqi market.
The ACT is a joint venture between ADC, the Jordanian Government's development arm for the Aqaba Special Economic Zone, and APM Terminals, which manages the facility.
A terminal expansion project completed in 2013 added 460 metres to the existing quay to create a total length of one kilometre and increased the annual container throughput capacity to 1.3 million TEU.
Iraqi imports grew by 86 per cent in 2017 to $36.5 billion - the leading sources being China, Turkey, Iran, South Korea and the United States, with food, medicine and manufactured goods the primary products.
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