Increased volumes to Iraq boost Aqaba Container Terminal

Increased volumes to Iraq boost Aqaba Container Terminal
Aqaba Container Terminal

Aqaba Container Terminal (ACT) delivered 3.4% growth for the period of August to December last year, boosted by the terminal’s strategy to promote the port as a gateway to Iraq and the wider Levant.

Containers destined for Iraq jumped by 367% compared to tbe previous year, while the terminal has seen a growth in import container volumes of 13% and in export container volumes of 6% in the first two months of 2020.

ACT CEO, Steven Yoogalingam, stated: “2019 was a year with many challenges. 2020 had a strong start but the year will not be free of challenges. The coronavirus outbreak has prolonged the period of low trading activity well beyond Chinese New Year so we naturally expect lower volumes in March.”

ICRC, the global humanitarian agency for the protection and assistance for victims of armed conflict providing support and emergency relief to Syrian refugees, and Nile Forwarding, the project cargo expert which ships several hundreds of containers into Iraq, have both made Aqaba their preferred gateway.

Nile forwarding Founder & CEO, Nasri Aqrabawi, said that ACT had gone “the extra mile to ensure that the processes and costs of all the different parties involved were all clear and without surprises”.

ICRC head of Logistics Support Centre Jean-Marie Falzone said: “We consider Jordan to be a safe haven for our cargoes and we enjoy the full welcome and support of the authorities of this country in order to accomplish our mission.

“Jordan is therefore the ICRC’s main logistics hub, and our warehouses are able to cover the humanitarian needs of the entire region, from Gaza to Erbil, and Syria to Yemen. ACT and the local authorities in ASEZA have also been very supportive and we are now evaluating the opportunity of routing more relief cargo through Aqaba.”

Jordan’s customs authorities have pushed to digitalise cargo clearance processes, leading to improvements in dwell-time for import containers at ACT, reducing by a full day in 2019 compared to 2018 and reaching record low levels in January this year‒ down 3.3 days compared January 2017.

The new Jordan National Single Window enabled pre-arrival clearance process which in turn allowed customers to clear their containers in 48-72 hours after discharge in Jordan, in line with international standards.

ACT also launched a new company website allowing port users to check the status of their containers through a track and trace system, check the position of vessel at berth or expected to berth in, and find information about the measures put in place by Jordan Maritime Commission against the coronavirus.