New pre-arrival clearance protocols, and reduced terminal handling charges for containers in transit, are expected to boost Jordan’s Aqaba Container Terminal (ACT) in its role as a maritime gateway for Iraq-bound cargo. ACT is 550km – or 36 hours by road – from the Iraqi border town of Traibil and 48 hours from Baghdad
Containers imported into Iraq will no longer have to be trans-loaded onto new trucks as they cross the Jordanian/Iraqi border. “The Aqaba Container Terminal has been working hard over the years to develop a competitive gateway to Iraq,” says ACT managing director, Steven Yoogalingam. “This will enhance the already strong Iraqi port system and gives the business communities of both countries a fantastic transportation system to better support economic development in the region.”
Last month, ACT welcomed the maiden call of the new AR1 direct service linking Aqaba in Jordan with ports in China, Korea, Singapore and Malaysia. The service is jointly operated by Wan Hai and container shipping group THE Alliance which is made up of Hapag-Lloyd, Yang Ming (YML) and the Ocean Network Express (ONE). The extra capacity deployed by the lines into Aqaba provides ample space to support the needs of the Iraqi market.
The terminal handled 804,000 teu in 2017, making it the second–busiest container facility on the Red Sea after Jeddah. Iraqi imports moving through Aqaba port grew by 86% in 2017, with the leading sources being China, Turkey, Iran, South Korea and the United States, with food, medicine and manufactured goods being the primary products.