More Filipino firms should do business in Iraq – PH Embassy
BASRA, Iraq—More Filipino companies should explore investment opportunities in Iraq following the recent inauguration by Manila-based International Container Terminal Services Inc. (ICTSI) of its $130-million port development project here, the Philippine Embassy said.
ICTSI’s Basra Gateway Terminal Project in Umm Qasr is Iraq’s largest and only deep-water port and the main gateway to the Iraqi market.
“We are glad that ICTSI, a leading Filipino company, is helping spur economic growth in Iraq,” Embassy Chargé d’Affaires Elmer G. Cato said.
“We hope that more Filipino companies would take a second look at Iraq and consider investing in the country,” 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.
During the inauguration, ICTSI Chairman and President Enrique K. Razon said that with the new berth and equipment, Umm Qasr port can now handle larger ships and ensure a more efficient trade gateway for the economic future of the region.
ICTSI poured $130 million to expand the capacity of the port, which handles 80 percent of the country’s imports, by constructing a new berth and container yard, building a multipurpose terminal complex and installing the first Post Panamax STS cranes in Iraq. In addition, the company provided employment and training to 240 Iraqis.
Basra Gateway Terminal Chairman Phillip Marsham said ICTSI expects increased cargo flows with the high economic growth projected for Iraq in the next 30 years.
“This will require larger vessels that would in turn require larger and more advanced facilities, equipment and information technology capabilities,” Marsham said.
Marsham said ICTSI’s operations can be expected to lower handling costs for vessels; ensure faster transit times for cargo; and lower turn-around time for equipment.
“This provides extra flexibility in the services and schedules of shipping lines and gives cargo importers more certainty and the ability to plan accordingly,” he added.