The Philippine embassy in Iraq is urging Filipino companies to explore investment opportunities there after the recent inauguration of a $130-million port development project in Basra by the Manila-based International Container Terminal Services Inc.
“We are glad that ICTSI, a leading Filipino company, is helping spur economic growth in Iraq,” Chargé d‘Affaires Elmer Cato said in a statement. “We hope that more Filipino companies would take a second look at Iraq and consider investing in the country.”
ICTSI’s Basra Gateway Terminal Project is in Umm Qasr, Iraq’s only deep-water port.
Cato said there are opportunities in construction and the oil and gas sectors, especially in Basra, the commercial center of southern Iraq, as well as in the Kurdistan region in the north.
In a statement, the Embassy welcomed the inauguration of ICTSI’s Basra Gateway Terminal Project in Umm Qasr—Iraq’s largest and only deep-water port and the main gateway to the Iraqi market.
Cato said, citing possible opportunities in construction and the oil and gas sectors, particularly in Basra, the country’s commercial capital, and other southern provinces as well as in the Kurdistan Region.
Enrique Razon, ICTSI chairman and president, was quoted by the embassy as saying the opening of the terminal, the first public-private partnership project in Iraq’s port sector, will allow Umm Qasr to handle larger ships and ensure a more efficient trade gateway for the economic future of the region.
The ICTSI project expanded the capacity of the port, which handles 80 percent of the country’s imports, constructing a new berth and container yard, as well as a multipurpose terminal complex, and installing the first Post Panamax STS cranes in Iraq.
The firm also hired and trained 240 Iraqis.
Basra Gateway Terminal chairman Phillip Marsham saw increased cargo flows with the high economic growth projected for Iraq in the next 30 years. He added that ICTSI’s operations can be expected to lower handling costs for vessels while ensuring faster transit times for cargo and lower turnaround time for equipment.
“As Iraq develops in the region, it is essential that there is infrastructure and investment support to ensure a rapid growth to the Iraq economy,” he said. “This will require larger vessels that would in turn require larger and more advanced facilities, equipment and information technology capabilities.”