NAWAH Port Management (NPM), a business unit of North America Western Asia Holdings, announced that it has been granted official approval by the Iraq government to discharge and move a full spectrum of food cargo at its terminal at the Port of Basra (also known as Al Maqal Port).
Operating the only modernized container terminal at the Port of Basra, NPM has weekly vessel sailings from the United Arab Emirates calling upon its terminal in downtown Basra along the Shatt Al Arab waterway. Outfitted with modern reefer plug points and a full array of modern port equipment, NPM will begin to receive foodstuff almost immediately from Jebel Ali and Hamriyah Ports in Dubai.
Due to the port’s previous low level of activity resulting from the Iran-Iraq War in the 1980s, the Iraq government did not include the Port of Basra in its earlier list of ports allowed to accept imported food products. The newest government directive changes all of that, allowing local merchants as well as international firms to import foodstuffs—from perishable items to dry goods—directly into Basra’s urban center.
Nicholas Kunesh, NPM’s president and chief executive officer, said, “Given Iraq’s growing disposable income, particularly within the expanding middle class, demand is increasing to consume more types of food and at greater quantities. Therefore, the need for efficient, reliable movement of food into the country is becoming more and more paramount. Today’s announcement by the Iraq government clearly recognizes that necessity as well.”
“With the Port of Basra added to the list of approved Iraqi entry points for food, the challenges faced by the vast majority of us importing and selling everything from fruit juice to chicken will be greatly reduced,” said Hayder Abood Abdul Abaas, a local Basra merchant and owner of Iraqi Basra Company. “We’ve already seen a difference in getting general and containerized cargo moved into Basra through the Port of Basra.”
“The period of facing weeks and weeks of delay due to berthing queues, customs delays, and other time-consuming dynamics at other ports and border crossings are over,” said Abaas. “For food products, that’s the difference between getting fresh or spoiled food to the marketplace.”
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