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Iraq: Ports
Country Study > Chapter 3 > The Economy > Transportation > Ports

PORTS


At independence, Iraq had little port capacity, a fact that reflected the low level of foreign trade and the country's traditional overland orientation toward Syria and Turkey rather than toward the Gulf. Since then, the Gulf port of Basra has been expanded many times, and a newer port was built at Umm Qasr to relieve pressure on Basra. Oil terminals were located at Khawr al Amayah, and Mina al Bakr, Al Faw, and a port was built in tandem with an industrial center at Khawr az Zubayr. Because Iraq's access to the Gulf was an Iranian target in the Iran-Iraq War, port activities were curtailed severely in the 1980s. Before shipping can be resumed after the war, the Shatt al Arab will have to be cleared of explosives and wreckage, which will take years.

Despite long-standing government interest in developing the Tigris and the Euphrates rivers into major arteries for inland transport, little had been accomplished by the late 1980s, primarily because of the massive scale of such a project. Dredging and the establishment of navigation channels had been completed on several stretches of the Tigris south of Baghdad, and in 1987 a river freight route using barges was opened between Baghdad and Al Amarah. Iraq investigated the possibility of opening the entire Tigris River between Mosul and Baghdad, as well as the feasibility of opening a stretch of the Euphrates between Al Hadithah and Al Qurnah, but lack of funds precluded further action.

Data as of May 1988




Last Updated: May 1988


Editor's Note: Country Studies included here were published between 1988 and 1998. The Country study for Iraq was first published in 1988. Where available, the data has been updated through 2008. The date at the bottom of each section will indicate the time period of the data. Information on some countries may no longer be up to date. See the "Research Completed" date at the beginning of each study on the Title Page or the "Data as of" date at the end of each section of text. This information is included due to its comprehensiveness and for historical purposes.

Note that current information from the CIA World Factbook, U.S. Department of State Background Notes, Australia's Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade Country Briefs, the UK's Foreign and Commonwealth Office's Country Profiles, and the World Bank can be found on Factba.se.

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