The Grand Faw Port Project: Transforming the Global Trade Landscape

The Grand Faw Port project represents a significant endeavour to enhance Iraq’s trade infrastructure, connecting east to west via a large port in Basra, a land road to Turkiye, in addition to a railway link to Europe. Its completion will facilitate trading between China, India, the gulf, and Europe , potentially threatening the Suez Canal and its profits. 

Construction commenced in 2010, but has since encountered many delays primarily due to funding and political issues. However, recent updates from Iraq’s Minister of Transport indicate that the project is nearing two-thirds completion, with phase one scheduled for completion in 2025. This phase includes a five-berth container terminal with an initial capacity of 3.5 million TEU per annum.

The Grand Faw Port’s master plan outlines a comprehensive set of facilities, including container, dry bulk, and oil terminals, along with a dry dock and naval base. With a projected total capacity of 99 million tons per year, it is to become the largest port in the Middle East. 

Beyond serving as a major port, the project aligns with Iraq’s broader strategy to establish a more efficient trade corridor between the Middle East and Europe. This includes plans for infrastructure development such as a 36-mile road connecting to Iraq’s Port of Umm Qasr and a 745-mile rail and motorway linking the Grand Faw Port to Turkiye. These initiatives aim to provide an alternative route to the congested Suez Canal. Valued at $17 billion, this initiative aims to enhance trade connectivity between the Middle East and Europe, offering a direct route for goods transportation.

South Korean firm Daewoo is leading the construction efforts under a USD 2.7 billion contract. 

In addition,   Abu Dhabi’s AD Ports Group has entered into a preliminary agreement with the General Company for Ports of Iraq (GCPI) to establish a joint venture to develop Al-Faw Grand Port and its economic zone. The agreement also encompasses the potential investment, management, and operation of ports, economic zones, and related infrastructure in other cities in Iraq.

If fully built out, Al-Faw Port would be one of the largest ports in the world. While progress is evident, challenges remain, including funding constraints and geopolitical uncertainties. Nevertheless, the Grand Faw Port project signifies Iraq’s commitment to enhancing its trade capabilities and fostering regional economic growth. As construction advances and partnerships solidify, the project stands poised to play a pivotal role in reshaping the region’s trade dynamics.