Port of Call: Umm Qasr, Iraq
Iraq’s only deepwater port is located in the southern city of Umm Qasr along the Al-Faw Peninsula near the Persian Gulf. The port has long held significant importance to Iraq as a major military port and naval base from the 1950’s. Umm Qasr started out as a small fishing town but was eventually turned into a deep water port in 1957. In the early 2000’s significant investment was made to improve the port of Umm Qasr. After the First Gulf War the port was transformed from a small fishing village into a major port capable of handling all major international shipping services into Iraq.
In addition to the port, the major railway line, Iraqi Republic Railways, connecting Umm Qasr to Basra and other regional ports was established. Until 2006 the port relied on smaller feeder vessels from the nearby port of Jebel Ali to bring in container and roll-on / roll-off cargo into the country. In order to accommodate giant ships for container and overseas car shipping service into Iraq, the depth of the port was increased. Over $10 million was invested in the port to improve the facilities and to make sure the port was capable of providing additional defense to the country. Today, Umm Qasr is the largest of all 5 ports in Iraq and is capable of handling over 100,000 containers a year. As a result of the improvement in the infrastructure and capacity of the port, international shipping services to Iraq has increased exponentially with shipments of machinery, cars, iron and steel products into Umm Qasr from the United States.
Some notable features of the port of Umm Qasr, Iraq:
- The port of Umm Qasr plays a pivotal role in the movement of goods to the major cities of Basra and Baghdad through road and rail links that were improved during a major infrastructure project.
- Umm Qasr has two roll-on / roll-off berths for international automobile shipping and construction equipment shipping services to Iraq. In total the port has 22 berths, 33 warehouse and 4 container cranes.
- In the southern region of the port a break bulk terminal specializes in the handling of heavy equipment shipping services for large cargo such as machinery.
- Until 2003 the port was too shallow to receive giant container and ro/ro vessels, as are result the depth of the port was increased and can now accommodate large vessels with anchoring depths of up to 11 meters.
For more information about the port of Umm Qasr, Iraq please visit: Port of Umm Qasr Website.
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