AD Ports partners with Iraq on Al-Faw Grand Port development


AD Ports Group joins forces with Iraq’s General Company for Ports to develop Al-Faw Grand Port, poised to offer a strategic alternative to the Suez Canal.

Abu Dhabi-based AD Ports Group has signed a preliminary agreement with the General Company for Ports of Iraq (GCPI) to establish a joint venture to develop Al-Faw Grand Port and its economic zone, as well as any future expansion.

The partnership aims to attract international terminal operators, bolster global trade ties, and develop commercial sea routes, thereby fueling Iraq’s economic expansion.

Furthermore, the agreement also encompasses the potential investment, management, and operation of ports, economic zones, and related infrastructure in other cities in the Republic of Iraq.

“Al Faw Grand Port and Economic Zone project is of great importance to the Iraqi government, which is committed to implementing the project in line with the highest global standards, in cooperation with our partners in the UAE and AD Ports Group,” Razzaq Muhaibas Al-Saadawi, Iraq’s Minister of Transport, said.

“Moreover, combined with the development road project, Iraq’s most prominent economic and logistics development, this project will strengthen maritime transport and freight shipping between Asia and Europe.”

“Together, we will create a joint operational policy which includes partnering with key international shipping lines to meet the outcomes of the project’s feasibility study. By leveraging the port’s strategic location linking commercial lines between the East and the West, we will unlock new opportunities for trade, investment and economic growth, contributing to the prosperity of our nation,” Farhan Muhesen Al Fartosi, Director General of the General Company for Ports of Iraq, said.

The development of Al-Faw Grand Port, a giant commodities port, has been in the pipeline for over a decade, however, its implementation has been disrupted by the political situation in the country.

The port’s construction aims to forge a more efficient transportation corridor between the Middle East and Europe, offering a direct alternative to the Suez Canal route by rail. In addition, it would bolster the country’s trade capacity, as currently Iraqi ports of Umm Qasr and Basra cannot handle ultra-large containerships.

Al-Faw Grand Port, which is currently under construction, is being developed in three stages. Upon completion of the first stage the port is expected to have the capacity to handle 3m TEU per year and accommodate the world’s largest containerships.

Based on the latest updates from GCPI, the container terminal is beginning to take shape with work for the quay structure to support the first cranes now underway.

Specifically, in 2021, Iraq signed a USD 2.63 billion contract with South Korea’s Daewoo Engineering and Construction for the port’s first phase. The breakwater, now the world’s longest, is already completed at a cost of around USD 1 billion. Daewoo will handle further construction, including building five ship unloading berths and a container yard, along with dredging and drilling for an access navigation channel.

According to the reports from local media, the container terminal is expected to be completed by 2025. What is more, the initial development stage is also expected to include dry bulk facilities, an oil terminal, a dry dock, and a naval base.

AD Ports said that the signing follows a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) inked by the two parties in September 2021, and an addendum signed in August 2023 to enhance cooperation.

The preliminary agreement targets providing expertise for Al-Faw Port and Economic Zone, utilizing advanced management and operating models, while exploring investment opportunities and conducting feasibility studies related to ports, economic zones, and other infrastructure under the General Company for Ports of Iraq.

Apart from Al-Faw, GCPI manages and operates five major ports in Iraq, including Umm Qasr North Port, Umm Qasr South Port, Khur Al-Zubair Port, Abu Floos Port, and Maqil Port.

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