€2.8bn port planned for Iraq

Baghdad: Transport Minister Amer Abduljabbar Ismail said on Thursday that Iraq has signed an agreement with an Italian consortium to construct a 2.8-billion-euro port on the Gulf.

“The Iraqi cabinet has approved an Italian study to establish the Great Faw Port” near the southern city of Basra, Ismail told reporters in Baghdad.”The proposed project, which will cost 2.8 billion euros, has been awarded to Italian companies which will implement it with the participation of our ministry’s projects department.”The site of the project is a small harbour currently being used by fishing boats. Ismail said the project would take three years to complete and that work would begin soon, without setting a precise date.Iraq has four ports, the largest being Umm Qasr.Iraqi security forces launched a major operation in Basra in the spring of 2008 to drive out Shiite militias who had overrun the port in the years following the 2003 US-led invasion to topple Saddam Hussein.The news follows on from statements made by Greek shipowner Restis earlier this month that it would form a jv shipping line to funnel cargoes to Iraq.

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