A number of international companies will be invited over the next two months to submit offers for the first phase of the Grand Faw Port construction project, the Iraqi Ministry of Transportation announced Sunday (March 4th).
This project would be constructed on the beachhead area of Faw peninsula, south of the city of Basra.
"The first phase includes the construction of a stone breakwater in the Arab Gulf waters to protect the port against strong waves resulting from climate change, in addition to building a service pier in the port's basin," said Omran Radhi, director general of the ministry's Iraqi Ports State Company.
Cost of constructing the breakwater and pier is estimated at $350 million with a 36-month construction period.
Radhi said the final studies and designs of the first stage have been fully completed.
Last year, the transportation ministry contracted a group of Italian companies led by the firm Technical Engineering to complete the sea surveys and special investigations for the project, as well as preparation of the designs for the breakwater and the service pier, at a cost of $62 million.
Kareem al-Nouri, media advisor at the ministry, said the first phase of construction would start by October.
Al-Nouri told Mawtani that the ministry will invite international companies to submit offers.
The standards set by the ministry in awarding contracts include "the company's competence, experience in the implementation of similar works according to international specifications and conditions, the company's financial assets, as well as its ability to complete the works awarded to it in the shortest time possible," he said.
The overall cost of implementing all phases of the port's construction is estimated at about $6 billion.
The latter phases include digging a navigational canal and building decks and platforms to handle the containers and goods.
The overall capacity of the port is expected to be 99 million tons a year of various products and goods.
Wihda al-Jumaily, member of the Iraqi parliament's services and reconstruction committee, said the port, once built, will place the country on the world maritime map.
Companies will start transporting their goods "from Southeast Asia to Europe and vice versa through Iraq because the cost of transporting the goods will be less and the distance shorter than going through the Suez Canal," he said.
"This new sea passageway will bring Iraq huge revenues from transit charges and will help energize the commercial activity of the other Iraqi sea ports, as well as enhance the pace of investment in the country. In addition, there is its immense importance in creating work for huge numbers of unemployed hands," he said.
Currently, Iraq owns six commercial ports overlooking the Gulf in Basra province. Not all those ports are located at the tip of the Gulf, but rather on waterways and narrow sea canals which make them capable of receiving ships with only limited depths.