Iraq is set to invite bids for the construction of a breakwater in the Gulf, as part of the first phase of the country’s plans of building a $6 billion mega port.
The giant port, to be known as Grand Faw, will be constructed south of Iraq’s major oil hub, Basra.
Iraq’s plans of building a major port hub in the Gulf can be tracked back as far as the 1980’s, but any such plan’s were deemed impossible under the reign of the country’s former dictator Saddam Hussein as war and sanctions continued to hinder any progress.
However, Iraq’s Transportation Ministry will now begin the bidding process for the construction of the port’s breakwater, expected to cost in the region of $340 million, Omran Rahdi Thani, general manager of the General Company for Ports of Iraq, told Reuters.
The construction of the port is part of Iraq’s long-term objective of turning Iraq into a gateway between Europe and the Middle East.
Included in the Gulf State’s plans is the renovation of the colonial-era railway, linking Iraq with Turkey, which would effectively bypass one of the world’s most important waterways, the Suez Canal.
“If Grand Faw Port is completed it would be a major event for world transportation. We will shorten the time to reach Europe from 20 days to three or four,” added Thani.
Preliminary plans for Grand Faw include a 7,000 meter quay for containerized trade, and a 3,500 meter dock for general cargo.