Aqaba Container Terminal (ACT) in Jordan is looking to become a gateway for Iraq-bound cargo following new pre-arrival clearance protocols and reduced terminal handling charges for containers in transit.
Containers imported into Iraq will no longer have to be trans-loaded onto new trucks as they cross the Jordanian/Iraqi border.
ACT is 550 km, equivalent to 36 hours by road, away from the Iraqi border town of Traibil and 48 hours from Baghdad.
This development comes as the volume of Iraqi imports experience rapid growth – 86% last year alone.
In May 2018, the facility welcomed the maiden call of the new AR1 direct service also featuring calls at ports in China, Korea, Singapore and Malaysia.
The service is jointly operated by Wan Hai and container shipping group THE Alliance.
Mohammad Al Bataineh, agent at Yang Ming, which is a member of THE Alliance, said: “We chose Aqaba as the latest addition to our route due to the high potential of the terminal, and its strategic location within the region.
“We are impressed with the advanced technologies and handling procedures available at the Aqaba Container Terminal.”
The terminal is currently able to handle vessels of 14,500 teu in capacity, almost three times the size of ships it could handle in 2014.
ACT is a joint venture between ADC, the Jordanian Government’s development arm for the Aqaba Special Economic Zone, and APM Terminals (APMT), which manages the facility.
It is the second–busiest container facility on the Red Sea after Jeddah in Saudi Arabia.
A terminal expansion project completed in 2013 added 460 m to the existing quay to create a total length of 1 km and increased the annual container throughput capacity to 1.3m teu.
Iraqi imports grew by 86% in 2017 to US$36.5bn – the leading sources being China, Turkey, Iran, South Korea and the US, with food, medicine and manufactured goods the primary products.