Basra - Global terminal operator International Container Terminal Services Inc. (ICTSI) has inaugurated two new berths at the Iraqi port of Umm Qasr. The additional capacity allows the port to handle 14,000 teu capacity container vessels for the first time. Completion of Berths 25 and 26, which have a draft alongside of 14m, marks the end of ICTSI’s US$ 250 million investment programme at its Basra Gateway Terminal (BGT). Three new quayside gantry cranes, each with an outreach of 56 m and able to handle up to 21 rows of containers on the deck of a vessel, are installed on the new berths. On the landside seven new, six-high stacking, rubber-tyred gantry cranes (RTGs) join three existing units bringing the total fleet at BGT to 10 RTGs.
Located in Umm Qasr’s North Port, BGT operates a container terminal together with specialised facilities for the handling of general cargo, ro-ro, dry bulk and project cargo for the oil and gas sector. Earlier developments have included the construction of Berth 27, adjacent to the new berths. Together the three berths now offer a combined continuous berth length of 600m. BGT already receives direct calls from a number of shipping lines but traditionally these vessels have not been fully utilised due to draft limitations.
The latest berth development removes this limitation and is expected to encourage other shipping lines to also introduce larger vessels on services into Umm Qasr, helping to lower transport costs. Phillip Marsham, chief executive officer at BGT says he believes the inauguration of the new berths marks the start of a new era in Iraq’s port industry. As Iraq’s economy continues to grow, it will also help create the necessary port capacity for the future.
(Source: the Maritime Standard)